Friday, August 5, 2011

More raptors

Little Island is a, well, little island in our cove. At high tide it's just about the size of a bus: a few rocks, bushes, and tufts of grass. At low tide it elongates into a kind of ugly, green-headed squid, proboscis pointing into the bay, tail pointing at shore (and nearly reaching it at full moon). It's not the kind of place I'd expect to see a bald eagle, what with the proximity to shore and the lobster pots all around and the airplanes overhead and the tourists in kayaks.

Yesterday, however, I wondered if I was suddenly transported to Alaska, for there were four eagles on the island. Three came in a group, possibly the same three as yesterday's fly-by, and then a fourth flew up. Almost immediately I lost track of two of them, the two adults, but watched the other two for some 20 minutes, just sitting there. Usually, the island has a dozen or so of crows, cormorants, and gulls - not today. The princes had claimed their kingdom. The only other bird around was a tern, confident of its maneuverability, I guess.

The two I watched through my binoculars were on the edge of adulthood, their heads still a little streaked with brown. One sat on a stone, the other on a piece of driftwood 10 feet away. I was of course entranced observing the birds doing absolutely nothing.

A couple of minutes before the phone rang, the two juveniles lifted off together and flew back towards the big bay. I'm afraid I was not very coherent in my conversation with the city, for the two adults - no mistaking their snow-white heads - came back, did a majestic fly-by, and disappeared.

I haven't seen the eagles today. Constant peering at the sky and keeping the binoculars close to hand hasn't produced them. The cormorants are back on Little Island.

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