Waiting

It’s Sunday, March 19th and nothing’s changed.  An eagle sits on the nest and another circles overhead. They call out.  Are they warning us away or communicating with one another?

On Monday, we try something new and park our vehicle further down the road. We make our way to a rocky ledge on the opposite bank of the river where a clearing in the canopy gives us a view although we’re now 200 yards away with an expanse of water between us and the nest.  Ted’s camera is nearly maxed out at this distance. His photos are blurry.

Through binoculars I  see nothing unusual.  I’m cold and tired of snow and freezing rain. Will spring ever come this year? Will the eggs ever hatch if they’re even there?  We haven’t actually seen any.  We leave our post and go for a short exploratory trek in the woods.  Upon our return, she’s gone.

Has the eagle left her eggs unattended on a cold afternoon? Phew! Our eagle is not ruthless afterall.  We spy a glint of her white head in a tree nearby, her eagle eyes glued to the nest.  Poor bedraggled dear, she must be tired, too, of infinitisimal waiting. Where is her mate?

On Wednesday, March 20th, we observe the mother alone on her nest. Ted thinks he sees her spitting out something white as if she’s cleaned her nest of feces, he says. Has she projectile vomited whatever she’s plucked up with her beak? I’m amazed. How could I have missed seeing such a thing? It’s warmer today but we’re traveling to Connecticut tomorrow with colder weather on the way. We wonder if the eggs will have hatched by the time we return.

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Update

eye 1

Eagle Eye…  “Keep an eagle eye on…” Ever hear that?  According to an Internet article, eagles have two centers of focus meaning they can simultaneously see forward and to the side. http://www.baldeagleinfo.com/eagle/eagle2.html

The eagle sitting on the nest today has determination in her eyes that seem to starkly warn us, “Look out!”  Mama’s going to have to look out for herself and for the safety of her eggs as a predicted winter storm approaches soon.

Someone has told us she looks like a Stephanie in her pictures. In Greek, Stephanie means Crown or Victorious.  Mama eagle certainly deserves a name denoting integrity.

good head

Snow followed by high winds…  We couldn’t wait to see how the eagles had fared after two days of weather.  “He” was nowhere in sight but Stephanie was on the nest “eyeing” us!

I was happy the upper crust of snow was tough enough to bear our weight since I was wearing clogs and not my boots.  Ted, always prepared, was decked out appropriately for the conditions.

Ted

We noticed other birds in the woods and Ted managed to catch both a hawk

hawk

as well as a bluebird through his lense.

bluebird

As for other fauna, we think these might be fox prints in the snow.

fox prints

Wind-blown…  Is Stephanie having a bad hair day? Ni modo, she’s still lovely.

bad hair

But look at Stephanie’s eye today! Wow, Ted timed this photo right!

eyelid

Eagles “have an inner eyelid called a nictitating membrane. Every three or four seconds, the nictitating membrane slides across the eye from front to back, wiping dirt and dust from  the cornea.” An eagle can still see when the membrane covers the eye. http://www.baldeagleinfo.com/eagle/eagle2.html

Should we call the male George, as a friend suggests? We haven’t seen him lately but he’s easily identified in flight due to a left primary feather missing on his wing.

A Leaf Blower?

Really? How weird to hear the racket of a leaf blower in the woods.  We met a fellow Sunday sojourner along the trail today who had lost a black cell phone. He was now clearing leaves, looking for it.  Although a frequent runner here, the man with the blower hadn’t seen any sign of eagles.  That, too, struck us as strange.

Is this Papa?

regal

We observed this morning that the two eagles were more off than on the nest, dipping their wings and circling above the water beyond their tree. Either they hadn’t seen us or were unperturbed since they didn’t fly near where we sat. Walking in, we had twice passed two people with three black labs. Later, we could hear other human beings talking in the distance. Once these voices drifted away, we listened to the eagles as they called softly to one another in their curious piping lingo. After a few more moments and some stellar (or lucky!) photography, we decided to head for home and leave Mama and Papa in peace, in case they might find some this cold day.

Is this Mama?

female

Jabberwocky

 

jabber

The eagle perched to the side of the nest today was articulate, but not screechy.  He didn’t seem to be bothered by our presence but was, rather, more interested in chatting with his mate.  Again, we are only guessing the gender of the eagles through the roles they seem to assume.

Busy Beavers?

peaceful

We encountered evidence of beavers in the woods on our way to the nest today.  We identified by call several birds including a kingfisher and also saw mourning doves, two pileated, mockingbirds, and chickadees. The eagle on the nest, probably female, was clean-mouthed and fairly relaxed. No sign of her mate although Ted thought she kept looking off in the direction we’d last seen the other eagle fly.beaver

Papa’s Gone A Hunting?

 

close up

One of us saw Papa Eagle departing just as we arrived today and the other thought the bird in air was a Turkey Vulchet. Oh well!  Ted secured a wonderful close up, the best yet, of Mama.  It looks like she’s been eating something Papa has brought back to the nest.  Her beak is possibly stained with dried blood. A photo taken earlier this week is fuzzy, but shows a clean mouth!

vigilant

 

Alone on Woman’s Day

watching

We found only one eagle, no doubt the female, sitting on the nest today with no sign of a mate.  The wind rocked the branches as she raised her head, eyeing us humans warily.  Our friend who joined us enjoyed seeing a fox during our hike, and, of course, catching a glimpse of the majestic bird…. awesome.

on nest2