Monday, January 4, 2010
Experience the “Ahh!” of Eagles & Agriculture
BY BILL CHERNOCK
It has been described as a signature event in Northern Nevada’s Carson Valley. Coming into its eighth year, the Eagles and Agriculture Event has shared the wonder of agriculture and wildlife with nearly 3,600 participants. The centerpiece of the experience is found in the Saturday chartered bus tour and buffet lunch. This is where “ahh!” can be felt the greatest.
By 8 a.m. the luxury coaches are boarded with bundled participants ready to see Bald Eagles and with a little luck, the birth of a calf. The tour guides, affectionately referred to as BSers, introduce the pair of bird experts. Typically members of the Lahontan Audubon Society, the bird experts are on hand to identify avian species, discuss biology, home range, and habitat requirements. They also keep a tally of the birds spotted throughout the morning.
BSers are locals versed in history, agriculture, geography, political issues, and a fair bit of hear-say. The coach is a buzz with questions and fun facts to know and tell. We are headed to the first ranch stop to meet the rancher who has worked and cared for a piece of Carson Valley land for many years.
As the bus unloads, the bird experts set up spotting scopes aimed at prime targets, and the rancher begins to spin his story describing the agricultural livelihood. Some say the best part of the tour is “being on the private ranches and hearing their history.” Others describe the ahh! as “meeting neighbors who make this valley important.”
After the fifth ranch is visited, the last eagle, Red-tailed hawk, waterfowl, bobcat, and other occasional wildlife are spotted and recorded, and the bus heads back to the Carson Valley Inn where an unbelievable buffet lunch is being prepared. En route, the BSers help the participants select the best mooer. That’s the one that can imitate a cow or bull the best. At lunch, each bus will delegate their best to compete for the mooing contest prize, and bragging rights. Bird tallies are announced, raffled prizes are won, exhibits are visited, and new friends are made as lunch winds down. The ahh! of the Eagles & Agriculture experience is coming into view.
This year, the chartered bus tour & buffet lunch is on Saturday, February 20, starting at the Carson Valley Inn at 7:30 am. The cost is $60 per person. For reservations contact the Carson Valley Arts Council at 775-782-8207 or online at visitcarsonvalley.org to download the registration form. For additional lodging and visitor information call the Carson Valley Visitors Authority at 775-782-8144 or toll-free at 800-727-7677.