Tuesday, May 11, 2010


click on photos to enlarge
The wind abated somewhat after I arrived back home with Douglas this afternoon.  I felt compelled to visit the river and check on the Bald Eagle eaglets.  After all;  the canoe was still on top the truck cap.  Off I went.  Conditions on the water were fine.  The water fairly calm.  I wasn't that concerned about safety in the canoe but, I was concerned about my ability to aim and shoot pictures from the tossing little craft.  I didn't think the eaglets would still be at the nest.  But I had to find out.  I slowly paddled out of the launch area and down the cove toward the open river.  The canoe would allow me to float directly under the tree.  I wouldn't actually position myself under the eagles because the subject matter would be back lighted against the bright sky.  But I would get closer today than I could with the Gheenoe.  I looked for photo possibilities as I slowly and quietly moved along the shoreline of the cove.  Black Vultures were having a feast just ahead and to my left.
They are fascinating birds.  I've actually seen Black Vultures steal food directly from a Turkey Vulture's mouth.  Just last week I observed a Black Vulture taking a fish away from a Heron.  They are professional opportunists.  A fast movement on the shoreline made me bring the camera quickly to bear.  It was my old friend the Sandpiper.  Cute little fellow.
I was coming up on the eagle's nest.  It was just around the corner.  There was an eagle on the limb across from the nest.  It was junior's sibling.  I can tell them apart.  Junior has a little white spot on the back of his head.  His sibling doesn't.  This was definitely the sibling.  I didn't see Junior.  I was wondering if he graduated to flight.
He is gorgeous.  Totally alert and ready for anything.  The founding fathers picked the correct bird to represent us.  There is a feeling of independence and boldness emitted from that face.  It shows no fear.  The look is the look of certainty, dignity and grace.  These birds are a precious gift.  One can look at the pictures and see what they look like but you are missing the heart pounding excitement that they cause within one's heart.  You are missing the piercing shriek that puts the chill in a body.  Simply magnificent!
Mom is watching from a distance.  Her vigilance never wains.
She flies from tree perch to tree perch constantly keeping an eye on her kids;   and me.
My God!  Look at her magnificence.
The young one twists his head keeping an eye on mom.  He turns each time she shrieks.
 Mom moves once more, ever watching.
Ah;  she can see everything from here.
I am saddened to know that these are my last views of this eagle family.  Tomorrow the eaglets will be on their own and the parents will disappear to parts unknown.  It has been this way each of the four years I have looked after them.  The canoe was drifting too far down the river so I turned it up stream.  And what is this?  In the time it took to float past the tree and take a few photographs of mom and her baby;  junior came out of the confines of the nest and climbed up the highest limb on the nest tree.  He is ready.  He is about to be a free spirit.  It won't be long now.  Junior will be the first to take flight.
Look at him up there.  He is close to flight.  Brave little guy.
One final shot of Junior before I leave
A proud mother looks on.  She has guaranteed that the seeds of freedom will continue for our country.  When things get tuff for America;  all we need do is gaze upon these great birds and reflect upon the bravery, perseverance and courage of the countless Americans who gave their all through the ages to guarantee the sovereignty of this great nation.  Yes;  even in the face of the embarrassing government we find ourselves floundering under today, we need only to hear the shrieking from on high and look up at that proud symbol of freedom and visualize the torn and tattered flag that was still there after what seemed an eternity of enemy bombardment and feel proud we are who we are.

I will miss my visits to this family of eagles and am saddened at their departure from my view.  But, I am proud of them and I am relieved that there are two more healthy symbols of freedom to carry the torch of pride in America.