Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Know Your Trees or Else: Culprit "my" Cooper's Hawk Returns and Another Look at the Albany Eagle Nest

I was in the driveway preparing  go see what raptors I might be able to spot in the next hour or so before dark when...wait a minute that tree doesn't look right.  There is an unusual lump on that branch.  See it in the center of the photograph?

Now you might or might not see the lump.  After all it isn't your tree but as it turns out it is important to know your trees when looking for the Culprit.

There he is.  Once again though the feeders are full the only creatures who seem to be enjoying them for the last couple of days are the squirrels.

Culprit who does his best to predate my feeders is used to seeing people in the driveway doing things with cars and therefore isn't even paying me the least attention as he is riveted to the bird feeder. 

When he does realize that I'm looking at him, he attempts to melt further into a branch.

When he realizes I'm not going to quit looking at him and he's not sure whether the camera may be a dangerous "thing" he takes off for the other side of the house...where the other feeder is.

I'm not sure what happened over there, but I don't have to go track him down because within a minute or so he races back to my side of the house and keeps on going.  Excellent.  I'll have time to check out some nests before the day is completely over as it is just about time for the Bald Eagles to lay eggs around here. 

Red-tails are a little later ordinarily.  Their nests are next on the to do list.

The Albany Eagle Nest.  Another nest that is at least a quarter mile from the road.  Though later in the season I'll be able to use the farm lane to get a bit closer.  It looks like there may be an eagle up there.  

Time for more magnification and a plea for a little less cloud cover.
Yes!  There is an eagle doing something on the nest.
The distance is far and  the light is bad but there he is.  And what he is doing is looking at me.

Or is it she?  Her head looks bigger in this shot.  At any rate she is looking away and about half a mile in the direction in which she is looking is the Albany dam with it's open water.  Her mate might well be there fishing or hunting ducks.   Or perhaps he's over there hunting squirrels.  

As it turns out,  Eagles in Wisconsin also eat great numbers of squirrels.

Ten minutes later she is still looking in the same direction.  Then while I'm getting a smear off the lens she takes off to the right and disappears into the trees.  Well.

That's when the sun decides to come out from under the clouds.
I can't help but giggle.

I wait.
I watch a camera shy raccoon scuttle into a dip in the field.

And as eagles come and go from the nest during the night, they may just wait until I'm gone to come back.  I  checked with a watcher at another nest.  They don't expect eggs for another week or so and I don't think there are any up in this one yet either.  Definitely time to get them used to seeing me around though.

Time to go home before I'm benighted.  Tomorrow is another day.

Happy Hawking!
Donegal Browne

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