Thursday, February 13, 2014

COPULATION! Pale Male and Octavia Do It, The Albany Eagle Nest, and the Pond That Never Ever Freezes

Click to enlargePhoto

Pale Male and Octavia copulate on one of the very handy for the purpose light fixtures on the Carlyle Hotel.  

And it isn't even  Valentines Day yet.

The games afoot on Fifth Avenue!  

Fingers crossed for a glorious season.

The Search for the Albany Bald Eagle's Nest.

According to the Wisconsin DNR Bald Eagle Map,  there are supposedly two Eagles nests in Green County.  

(There are very likely more Eagle nests than two but no one has told the DNR that as the local farmers aren't at all partial to the DNR showing up on their land and in their minds or possibly in truth bossing them around.)

Well the other day I got a tip that there was an Eagle's nest outside the small town of Albany near the water treatment plant.  

Alright!  I could contact the DNR as to finding it but what if the DNR didn't know about it yet?  The farmer whose land it was on, would be very unhappy with me and I wouldn't be getting within a mile of it.

I needed some genealogy introductions and there is no substitute for a local farm boy's expertise in these things.  

I talked to my friend Mike Albright, who has helped me through this sticky wicket before.  He grew up on a farm not that far from Albany and his parents still live there.  

Mike agreed to drive around with me today to try spotting the nest and if we saw it, he'd  do the necessary genealogy conversations with the farmers.

Sure enough, without leaves to obscure the nest, there it was way, way, way over there near the river, across a very large field, was the iconic cup shaped nest.  Any public roads to get us closer?  

Of course not, we looked. 
Now perhaps it doesn't look all that far away in the photo but this picture was taken with a zoom lens.  Trust me it is a lengthy trek from the road.  If one can get permission to trek it that is.

Typically, it isn't easy to actually figure out who owns any particular chunk of property so we drive around scrutinizing  mailboxes looking for names that might have some connection to people Mike knows.

We turn into a long driveway and head up toward the barn in which a man dressed for the weather is just carrying a large bucket full of something through the door.  Mike gets out and waits.

One can't just walk up to the barn and call out. Nope. One waits. 

Eventually the man comes out of the barn with a now empty bucket.  Mike waits for him to walk up to him.  He then says who he is and suggests he might know his father.  They chat.  Turns out the man not only knows Mike's father he also buys hay from Mike's brother.  Excellent.  He's been placed.  Smiles all round.

Then comes the explanation about how we saw this Eagle nest, we'd like to take pictures of it,  and did he happen to know who owned  the land over there by the river?

Hay Bob, what he's called around the Albright dinner table as Bob is a common name and this Bob does buy hay from brother Ron, certainly does know who owns that land.  Take that road, go round this way, can't miss it.

Sure do thank you.  We motor off.

It's about an hour to sunset and a flock of geese flying with purpose passes over us.  My mind goes click.  There is water here somewhere.

Now keep in mind the temperature has been hovering around zero or below for like forever around here and every body of water is frozen solid unless it is at the foot of dam or is very fast river.  Hmmm.

We follow Hay Bob's directions and turn into another farm yard.  It is time for chores so this farmer too is making his way toward the barn.  Mike gets out.  The genealogy conversation ensues.  I wait in the car.  

They chat.  I look around.  

Wait just a minute there is a pond across the road and it is definitely not frozen or under a couple feet of snow like everything else.  

I KNEW IT.  I knew there had to be open water the geese where heading for at this time of day.

The guys chat.  I sit some more. 

More Geese come cruising in and land in the pond. 

Mike and the latest farmer talk about Hay Bob, brother Ron, Mike's dad, and the eagles.

Turns out the farmer says one of the Eagles got a goose yesterday.  Geez.  That must have been some tussle, an Eagle taking a goose.


Lots of them and the farmer tells Mike we can use his lane, a dirt road currently under loads of snow that bisects his field and heads right for the Eagle's nest.

Mike says, thanks so much but when we come we'll just pull off the road and walk in.  Would hate to get stuck and mess up your road.  

We get more points.  I look at the distance, the depth of snow, and the amount of camera equipment.  It will be a trek without question but worth it.

The light is beginning to fade.  More geese into that mysterious unfrozen pond across the road.  It must have a monster spring under it.

I just have to ask.  Why isn't the pond frozen?  Is there a spring?

Big smile.  Indeed there is and the pond has never frozen within living memory.

How cool is that?  One never knows what marvels might await once one steps outside the door.

Mike gets in the car.  I ask, so what's the farmer's name?

He didn't give it so I didn't ask.

Really?  Must be another rule.

I stop, once on the road again, for a few more pictures of the nest.  It is far far away.

Once I get home, I load the pictures onto the computer and crop the nest closer.
Look very closely at the left top edge of the nest.  I do believe there might be an eagle head resting on the rim of the nest.  And there appears to be the slightest touch of yellow, the only bit of yellow in the photo, where the beak would be.

Is it possible that Mama Eagle is already sitting the nest?


Donegal Browne

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