Vay-Cay

We head for Norfolk, Virginia, and are delighted to spy an eagle on Breezy Point at the US Naval Base looking stalwart and regal.

With his second shot, Ted is able to capture the amazing “eagle eye” in action with its retractable lense.

eagle eye

Unrest

“I think the mom is older and the dad’s younger and new to this,” Ted decides. At any rate, the male is seldom “home” or near the nest.

H-m-m-mmm.

During our past few visits, both adults have vacated shortly after our arrival so we leave, too, hoping our observation point, over 200 feet away and across the river is not threatening them.

cuatro

How Many?

A baby in the nest! One eaglet! Maybe two? One or two babies, whichever, Mama and Papa Eagle are proud as punch.  We observe them watching their nest, shoulder touching shoulder, a couple of lovebirds!

8After a windstorm we see just one eaglet but keep hoping a smaller sibling is hiding in back of the nest.  We bring our friend Deb to have a look-see.

5

Fast Forward

Today is April 18th.  Where has time gone?  We took a trip to Connecticut. Then, after a quick turn-around in Baltimore, we were off to Norfolk and the Outer Banks.  All this matters not.  What about the eagles?!

Mama must have been cleaning up egg shell. That had to be the white Ted saw in her beak. Upon our return from Connecticut, we could hardly believe our binoculars…..

2

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.

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.