Current season eagle count by week http://www.mvr.usace.army.mil …Watching/EagleCounts.aspx
Eagle Count Archive http://www.mvr.usace.army.mil …ng/EagleCountArchive.aspx
Some guys from Oklahoma just posted this video of their time here on Jan. 30th 2016
This will give you a really good idea of what it is like there.
Here are some thoughts:
You will get fantastic images if you shoot on sunny days. The action can vary throughout the day, but the best light is in the afternoon with winds out of the west or south west. Eagles fly in to the wind when fishing, so the wind direction is important. Use the morning and early afternoon to practice your technique, and then get ready for some beautiful BIF. You will find some shots posted here on overcast days to show the difference. The eagle season here starts around Christmas and runs through the end of February. With the best opportunities between Jan. 1 and Feb. 15 Of course weather is going to play a significant role in what the eagles decide to do.
There is a nice sized gravel parking lot right by the dam so it is easy to access the area. The access to this area is right off 67 just south of I-80. There is a bathroom near the parking lot of the dam. It's not heated and it doesn't have running water, but it works. Check out Post #166 and #1410 from Katodog for a aerial pictures and description of the area.
There are three hotels just north of the dam about 1-1/2 miles:
Comfort Inn and Suites
Holiday Inn Express
From Katodog: For those who want to spend a few days out there, I would suggest staying at the Stoney Creek Inn. It's a very nice place, has a great cozy feeling to it, and they do a pretty nice continental breakfast. Rooms are cheap, and it's only about 5 minutes from the lock. It's right off of I74 on the Illinois side, you can actually see it from I74 as you go over the bridge.
It's also right next to the Rock Island Arsenal, which is a good spot to hang out for a while. When we stay at the hotel, we usually run by #15 to see what's happening out there, normally it's not all that thrilling but there's some eagles there every once in a while, and you can usually see eagles flying by the hotel too.
We stay there, eat, swim, whatever, and then just drive the short drive to the lock and shoot. When we get tired or want to take a break, we head back to the hotel. Moline has a few decent restaurants, and a few typical ones like Friday's and such. They also have the John Deere Pavilion, which, while I'm not a big fan of farm equipment, was actually pretty cool. It's well worth spending a night or two, that way if you're taking a long drive you can have a spot to sit and relax. Nice swimming pool, hot tub, bar (gotta have a bar). Well worth checking out.
From Go4EVA: For lodging, I stayed at the Holiday Inn-Express in Le Claire, Iowa -- located about 1 mile from L&D 14. Great location -- the hotel was fine -- just like any other HI-Express. BUT, be advised that there is a railroad track about 50 feet away from the hotel parking lot. The trains ran at various times all through the night, and being a light sleeper, they woke me up every single time. (As loud as they were, I think they would probably disturb heavy sleepers as well.) I asked the hotel staff if I could be moved to a room on the "opposite side" of the hotel (facing the river) in hopes of better sleeping conditions, but they refused -- even though the hotel was virtually empty. I had a AAA discount rate on the room (facing the tracks), and the river-facing rooms are "premium rate" rooms -- like another 25-30 dollars per night -- so I toughed it out. I'll definitely visit L&D 14 again some day, but I'll probably arrange another hotel that isn't so close to the railroad tracks.
From vmaiden at gmail.com: We stayed at the Super 8 , which was really the cleanest Super 8 I've ever seen, but yeah the Inn is much nicer looking.
From amyandmark3: I give a THUMBS UP to the Ramada Bettendorf for lodging (it's just off I-74 in Iowa and approx. 10 minutes from the dam) as well as the Old Chicago restaurant (right next to the Ramada - I walked to it) for its food a HUGE selection of both bottled and tap beers, not to mention the HOT bartendress!
A few getting ready for a fly by
And the gallery waiting for the performance