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

Monday, August 17, 2015

Avian Heaven

I don't know if the plenitude of interesting birds recently seen in this neighborhood are finding here their bit of heaven, but I'm certainly in heaven watching them. In the past few days we've had, besides the usual goldfinches and crows and gulls and osprey:

  • a hummingbird or two hovering just outside the picture window
  • two herons, one of which posed for a few minutes on a rock on the shore
  • two loons, calling every once in a while
  • eight bluejays or more messing around in busyness
  • and best of all, at least four bald eagles, two adults, two juveniles, and possibly two more juveniles, depending on the state of my overly fervid imagination.

The eagles require some exegesis. For some days now they in various combinations have been hanging out on the little island (named, of course, Little Island) in our cove. For almost all of the years we've been here, eagle sightings have been rare. Then last year we saw a few (or maybe the same one) and this year, it's like living in Alaska. On the island they sit on the rocks, fly about a bit and re-settle, fly off to the mainland, come back. On Saturday we even had one visit the tall spruce near the house, and sit out of sight for a few minutes.

We don't see them continuously, even though Little Island is very small, maybe 50 feet long at high tide (but several hundred at low); a topknot of bushes and some natural elevation hides the east side from view. Which makes speculation even stronger, not just what in the world are so many eagles doing on such a small island, hardly a wilderness paradise, visited by kayakers, surrounded by lobster boats, flown over by airplanes, but what are they doing out of sight that keeps them coming back?

For a few dreadful moments yesterday, after the island was besieged by a Sunday flock of tourists in kayaks, I thought the birds had been frightened away. Was the word getting out? But they were back last night, and this morning, in all their calm and disinterested magnificence.

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