The magnificent bird was positioned as you see it in the pictures above, on its back, head turned to the left, wings holding stiff to the side. After closer examination, it's eyes were missing and the head appeared to be empty. That being said, I didn't get too close to peer in to it's skull. Based on the once over I gave the bird, there were no obvious signs that the bird had been killed (no gaping wounds). The portion of the river where the bird was found appeared to be colder than the downstream reaches. The floodplain was still frozen and patches of ice and snow still lined the banks of the river. Based on the presence of snow and the frozen ground, this portion of the river could be losing water to groundwater. When rivers lose water to groundwater, surface water temps are often much colder during the winter and hotter during summer. As such, my friend and I theorized that the eagle may have been dead for quite some time. Maybe it froze over winter and its plumage was maintained without significant damage. Those are just theories. I reported the "incident" to the Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks at the urging of some classmates. It is in their hands now.
The fishing was decent that day. I caught six. Two cutthroat, three whitefish, and a brown trout. I did catch a football sized 17-18'' lady cutthroat. She was so impregnated with eggs, I could barely wrap my hand around one side of her. If one were to point their middle finger and thumb in opposing directions and their hands were as large/small as mine, that would be a reasonable estimate for the half of the girth of this fish. As I went to pose for a picture with the soon-to-be mama cuttie, her will to pro-create drove her to resist my wishes to record her existence and she escaped my grasp and returned to her lair underneath an overhanging willow. Enjoy the rest of the pictures.
Upper Rock Creek Brown Trout
Upper Rock Creek - 4.10
Elk Grazing at dusk - Upper Rock Creek
A Moose - I swear