Sunday, April 19, 2015

Urban Eagles, Part III

My weekly kayak trip to the area where the Bald Eagles have nested ended up more exciting than I had planned.  I paddled out to the little islet where I am sheltered from the wind and river current and can wait patiently for the eagles.  The female was dutifully tending to the nest in the distance and I had seen the male circling around Potter Park before I even had gotten my kayak off the car.

After about 45 minutes the female popped her head up out of the nest and cried agitatedly.  The next thing I knew, several dead branches started to rain down from above where I sat in the kayak.  The islet has two tall trees with a couple of the abandoned Great Blue Heron nests in the top of them.  The male eagle had circled around and landed on the nest, knocking some branches loose.  He also acted agitated and cried out several times.  Then I heard the cries of the Red Tailed Hawks that were also circling the sky above and were causing the eagles such consternation.  I snapped a few photos of the male peering over the edge of the heron nest and then paddled further upstream to get a better angle to photograph him.  He hopped out of the nest onto a branch that was higher up the tree, but did not stay there long at all as he started to chase the hawks out of the area.  Eventually, he flew back to the big dead tree on which I have seen him many times.
I navigated back to my preferred place to park the kayak to photograph him and keep an eye on the eagle nest.  I try to stay a good distance from the eagle nest so as not to disturb it.  I would really like to capture some photographs of one of the eagles landing in the nest, which I assume will become easier once the parents are in and out of the nest more frequently to feed the soon-to-hatch babies.  The male started to get agitated again and I twisted around to see the hawks in the distance.  All of a sudden the female landed on one of the branches a bit lower on the dead tree.  I had been paying little attention to the nest and more to the squawking male and did not notice the female take off from the nest.  The two squawked back and forth for a bit and the female flew off to confront the hawks.  She chased them around for quite a while.  I tried to paddle out to an area where I could photograph them better, but the sky had turned overcast and made the contrast of the photographs I did capture mostly unusable.  Nonetheless, it was a good couple of hours watching the eagles and I captured some good photographs this week.

You can see some of my earlier posts with photos of the eagles by clicking here or here.

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