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Not quite so frigid today, so I drove out into Illinois and towards the Pere Marquette State Park. I took the back roads – Powerline Drive – to avoid the numerous eagle watchers lining the river banks.

They wanted to see the birds; I wanted to see the countryside. I saw a few eagles myself, distant and in the high treetops. Quite different from the freezing day that I, and few others, spotted them on the ice near Alton.

It was cloudy with not much prospect for a lot of light. This was fine with me – I prefer a snowy landscape under a gray sky. Less glare and more subtle shading.

As you can see, the blanket of snow from last week is looking somewhat threadbare after several days of above freezing temperatures. Enough, though, to make me feel like we are still in deep winter.

I drove into the park and stopped at a number of lookout points. Every time I got out my camera someone would come up to me and ask if I'd got any good eagle shots. I began to feel as annoyed as the riverside fisherman does each time someone walks by his or her empty bucket and inquires cheerily if the catching was good.

By now, it was getting close to sunset so I drove on down to the Illinois River at Pere Marquette just in time to catch this barge on the river.Finally some sun was peaking through. It almost made an appearance by the time I reach Grafton on my way home, but contented itself with strikingly illuminating the clouds.It was a very fine day out!