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Retired publishing executive ecstatic with the idea of spending most of his time on the coast of Maine

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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