Thursday, November 05, 2009

Enter Red Fox, Exit Unseen Bald Eagles

November 3, 2009

Rock and Jane Bald Eagle may be habituated to people to some extent but it didn't stop them yesterday from flying into their night roost during civil twilight, 5:05pm (the photo is enhanced so they can be seen more easily) and hiding behind a branch. Look center and you'll see the top of a white head poking out on the left side of the big branch and the other's tail poking out on the right.

Another poking out of the head to check on me a bit later.

And nicely tucked in they wait, until it is completely dark.

I then began shooting in the direction of the pair as it was utterly dark.

And when the exposure is pushed, there they are having spread out a bit for comfort while hidden by the lack of light. If you'll notice, Rock who is closest is fast asleep. You can see Jane's tail on the far side of him. And indeed they are roosting in the same tree and from what it looks like quite close together. And just like Red-tails and I assume most open roosting raptor pairs who roost closely, one looks one way and the other the opposite direction. The direction toward the viewer is protected by the thick branch and I can't see it but I'll wager there is a branch above their heads as well.

So having been circumvented by them yesterday I was very pleased to see both of them perched nicely in view across the river when I arrived this evening. I was just setting up the equipment when my phone rang, so I'm juggling the phone and the camera when...

November 4, 2009

Time: 5:44; 51 (All PM & CST)
Temp 42F (39F comfort level)

Wind 5 MPH Variable

...a RED FOX ambles into view, raises his leg and urinates on a clump of grass. I freeze. Unbelievable. Doesn't he know I'm here? He's going to be off in a flash. What about the Eagles? I do move my eyes to see what is happening with Rock and Jane and...UNBELIEVABLE, they're GONE! My cell slips out from between my shoulder and my ear. Red looks up and fully expecting him to bolt...

...not a bit of it. He continues his saunter along the Rock River. Wow, this isn't the way the last fox I ran across acted. She shot off when she noticed me from 50 yards away.

He sees something, focuses, and goes on alert. There's a voice coming from my phone, I ease down and get it.

When I look up, Red has gone over and is doing--What? Now the camera has to be adjusted for the light.

By the time I get the phone dealt with and the camera adjusted Red has walked into the field across from the boat landing I'm parked in and is chewing mightily on something.
(By the way if someone can figure out what Red is eating I'd be very pleased to know. I've scrutinized and gotten nothing definitive. Sometimes I think it's a fish, at others a squirrel, and even a pigeon. and likely someone else's leftover to boot. The exposure has been bumped up on all of them because by this point is was quite dark. So solve the mystery food if you can.)

A look around while chomping.

Then back to dismantling whatever it is.

More tugging. Is it a mite stiff?

LOOK! Jane and Rock are back. Is that a third Eagle with them or a lump of leaves? I wondered yesterday if there weren't three Eagles behind that branch.

While I was trying to figure that out, Red finished her meal and is heading off on what is likely a circuit she takes each night to forage.

Good night Red. See you tomorrow, maybe?
Donegal Browne
P.S. I got a report from James W. Blank Jr., who has contributed photos to the blog in the past, (he's was the one giving me the report on the phone when the Eagles exited and Red Fox entered), that there was a Red-tailed Hawk perched in the Oak closest to County M that is adjacent to the field that holds the Ms Nest from last season. Unfortunately he didn't have a camera with him so we've no chance of knowing if it was Mrs or Mr M or Primus or Secundus or a visitor. I'll go by and check out the spot tomorrow just in case that tree is now a favored hunting spot again.

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