Sunday, December 21, 2008

It takes and Eagle's eye to find food on this rock.

I ran into a couple of lobsterman on Friday down at the town dock.  They were off loading the last of their traps.  So most of the lobsterman are done for the year, a few are still going 25 miles offshore to haul traps.  With most of the Islesford traps hauled out of the water we figured it was time to put our bikes away until spring.  Kaitlyn walked two bikes down and I rode mine down to our friend's house.  

As you can see there is some snow on the ground, and there is more to come.  It was brutally cold today.  We ended up on Gilley Beach and took some photos of the snow and frozen beach rock.  I was suddenly surprised when a bald eagle came into view.  He was down on the rocks and we were up at the top of the beach behind the seawall.  I think he was spooked by our dog Cairn.  The eagle was working hard to get some altitude, and while I was going crazy about him an immature eagle flew up into sight.  So now I was really excited.  It's not often you see two eagles together around here.  I was hootin' and hollerin' when a third eagle flew up, by this time the other two were circling aways off, seeing if we were leaving.  This third eagle was also a mature bird.  I just couldn't believe what I was seeing.  Kaitlyn got a picture of one of the birds.  I was so curious to see what it was that three big eagles would be down on the beach for.  From atop the seawall I could see something bright red on the rocks, I ran down and found three pairs of seagull wings strewn about, and the bodies minus the feathers.  

I have a couple of eagle sightings a week this time of year.  When they fly into an area all the gulls, ravens and crows go bizerk.  They try and chase the eagle off by dive bombing them and making lots of noise.  I know that the eagles are looking for injured birds down on the beach, or any food that may have been left by a fleeing gull.  Eagles are true scavengers.  They look for the easiest way to get a meal.  
Our friend Rick Alley was out a few years back hauling when he saw an amazing thing.  A shearwater or maybe a petrel had caught a fish on his own by diving into the water.  Upon getting back into the air it was trying to swallow the fish.  While the unsuspecting bird was trying to get it's lunch into it's belly a bald eagle was bearing down on it.  The eagle flew right into the other bird causing it to eject it's catch.  The eagle then flew down and grasped the fish and easily flew off with it.
The bald eagle is an amazing sight to see.  They are so strong looking and very majestic when perched, but like everything else out here they will do whatever it takes to make it through the cold winter.

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