Thursday, March 24, 2011

Pale Male And yet ANOTHER MATE? B.J. the Attack Goat Eats a Kleenex Box, Quicksilver Finds a Cavity, and Eagle Mom Sits Tight

Photo courtesy of

Guess who is back, or guess who has showed up who looks a lot like Ginger?, reports that after likely laying an egg on March 24 and overnighting on the nest, by the afternoon of the 25th Pale Beauty/Paula had disappeared and a female who may well be the very dark female who appeared hard on the heels of Lola's disappearance, Ginger (Lima), was sitting the nest. She and Pale Male traded off, conceivably sitting on the egg that Pale Beauty laid. They also sky courted and copulated on the 25th.


Has this sort of switching off occurred previously in Pale Male's life and no one noticed as the the females were similar in coloring as opposed to this time in which the coloration of the females is starkly different?

Or is the competition for Pale Male and his very choice nest site steeply increased due to the sharply rising population of urban hawks in the last few years?

There was some thought that as Ginger and Pale Male had not copulated as yet when Pale Beauty suddenly appeared on the scene that they weren't fully bonded yet and that was what gave Pale Beauty an edge in fighting off Ginger and taking her place.

Is it that at the moment Pale is not taking sides but rather taking which ever female shows up? There were times when Lola was his consort in which Lola would take off after an intruder like a shot, with Pale Male right behind her, backing her up.

Or has something actually happened to Pale Beauty? And Ginger/Lima has seen her chance and stepped into the breach?

This is a poser.

Photo courtesy of

Here is the third new girl, or the first new girl reappearing.
She has light eyes and is quite dark just like Ginger but could it be a different hawk? Oh for a definite physical marker!

Tomorrow is another day.

Stay tuned!

Now onward to another trip to the Edgerton Eagle's nest.

But before one can get to the marsh, past the cranes, and past the geese, one must get past B.J. the Attack Goat. Remembering his penchant for cardboard, I brought an empty Kleenex box , just in case his owners weren't home, in hope that it would keep him busy long enough for me to skedaddle past him and down the lane.

He liked it a lot.

In fact he looked like he was really enjoying stomping on it.

Perhaps it was just a technique to hold it down and rip chewable size bites off the box.

B.J. had gone over to some pipes and was pressing the piece of cardboard at an angle, I think he was attempting to bend the cardboard back into this mouth. I started to get my things out of the car, looked up and saw this. This did not look promising. Is he thinking ambush?

His people appeared thank goodness.

And suddenly he was gazing off into the middle distance nonchalantly as opposed to the very alert focused one eye look past the pole. Whatever the case I started down the lane at a rapid pace.

And way, way, way, over there, an eagle appeared over the first treeline. He checked me out and then disappeared back into the trees.

I walked briskly toward the second treeline and there was the nest.

And there is Mom, giving me the eagle glare.

And she sat right there and kept it up. There was a copse of trees to the right and I decided to try getting slightly closer but also to try a different angle just in case there was something I wasn't seeing.

From this angle I saw even less. I started pushing myself into the underbrush of the tree copse.

Once I got though the first layer is was quite open inside. And there was someone's burrow!

And another....

And another...

And another. And all within six or eight feet of each other. They are big enough for a fox but I doubt she'd have six openings. Possibly ground hogs? Do ground hogs ordinarily live this close to each other? Another mystery, though I did begin to notice bare corn cobs lying around which rather points toward ground hogs or another grainivore. I struggle out the other side of the underbrush and try to spot the nest.

There it is, but it is a much worse view, with more limbs obscuring the bowl.

I start back to the original spot.

She's still there.

Still drawing a bead on me.

And yet another burrow.

I'd cut across the marsh coming in and walk a different lane with a manmade crick beside it going back.

The crick is full of interesting bubbles that look like they may contain some kind of eggs.

I head for the small pond.

That looks very strange. Rather like a group of buoyant bunnies

It is actually a group of Northern Shovelers using their tail up feeding technique.

Here's another right side up near the bank.

The view over the pond toward the farm buildings to help you get your bearings.

A flock of Tree Sparrows shifts though the shrubbery.

I wondered where the Sandhill Cranes were, they didn't come after me on my way in. Perhaps further afield feeding. But having spotted me they come directly out of the sun trumpeting .

They keep coming.

They begin to veer off.

I found the following sequence of light playing on their wings has they shifted very interesting.

The day hasn't been fruitful in particular in the eagle category but that flight was beautiful. I'm coming up the lane and I start watching for B.J.

B.J. the goat having had his cardboard nosh for the moment is back to his hormonal activity of the moment, which according to his owners includes looking for cats to copulate with. Cats? Well there aren't any nanny goats around and well....the cats are handy. By the way, according to report, he's never been successful in convincing the farm cats that he is the ONE, so nobody has been squashed.

Two days ago the Starlings arrived and then it was the arrogant Grackles. Notice, at least for the moment, they've taken over the feeding area and they're already getting into their beak-up display.

It's "that" time of year for African Grey Parrots and Quicksilver is quite hormonal. And this year there is a new angle, he's discovered the "nesting cavity" that is between the refrigerator and the cupboard above it.

And the cavity is HIS!

Caution being the better part of valor at this time of year for human friends of Grey Parrots, I allow him to stay as long as he doesn't chew the seal on the refrigerator or the woodwork. I did forget however that there was a bowl of ripe bananas on the top of the refrigerator. I now have a bowl of banana bits.

I'm not sure exactly what he is doing. He keeps hunkering down, walking back and forth, poking his head out, and eventually he'll come out for awhile, stand on the edge of the fridge, survey the area, look like he's guarding the perimeter and go back and do his hunkering, walking thing again. I gave him some paper in case he wanted to put that inside but so far that's a no go.

There he goes into the back corner again.

He has a bite of paper, to chew not to distribute in the cavity, comes to the edge of the fridge, puts up one foot, like Pale Male on Linda, and surveys his domain.

Between Quicksilver and the Billy Goat I'm beginning to have a great deal of sympathy for unmated male animals at this time of year. Though it is sympathy touched with caution as they can be, shall we say, unreasonable to innocent by-standers.

Remember Jenny Langer and all her lambs? Here she is again, and boy, have those little lambs wearing sweatshirt sleeves have really grown in a short time.

Donegal Browne

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Eagle's Nest Part 1a, Sandhill Cranes, Whoopers as Non-essential, Francois Portmann's Jamaica Bay Wildfowl, Franklin Red-tail Update

Somehow or other these two eagle photographs were left off in the sequence.

They belong at 5:09:10pm-

and 5:10:01pm

Now back to our regularly scheduled programming. I'm walking down the lane toward the eagle's nest when the Sandhill Crane pair who perennially nest in the marsh take umbrage to my presence.

The Sandhill Cranes come at me out of the sun.

5:55:16pm They are such fine birds. Determined birds. Birds of angles but also supreme grace. (Note how white they look in this light.)

4:55:19pm They observe me and...

4:55:21pm ...then both trumpet mightily and continue to do so.

4:55:31 Off you go to Part 1b if you've not been there already.



Hey Donna,
You've got some action going over there in cheezland!
If you're interested, here is some links re: Sandhill Crane hunting:

And this one about 4 Whoopings shot:

Here, migrations are going full speed with loads of snow geese and ducks,

good times at JBay:




(Check out the photo of the cranes at 5:55:16pm above. Those Sandhills look almost white, much like Whoopers look in various lights. Hmmm. D.B.)

And from Robin of Illinois, the third egg appears for the Franklin Pair, and a wonderful essay on why the formel might not be all that hot to be sitting around on the nest yet, by hawk expert John Blakeman!

Donegal Browne