3:59:55PM The male of the pair is also not watching the water for fish. He is looking in the opposite direction, conceivably where the female is looking.
4:03:12PM For several minutes the female has been staring at me. Then a passer-by talks to me
4:06:32PM Unfortunately we chat for three and a quarter minutes and by that time there are THREE eagles at the bend in the river and I'm no longer sure who is whom?
4:06:37PM Three (the new arrival) lands and beak goes straight up and One (the eagle I'd been watching originally) droops wings. Two looks on. At this point I wonder if the eagle by the dam and the eagle at the bend are actually the mated pair I was told they were.
4:06:39PM Two seconds later two beaks in the air.
4:06:45PM Six seconds later. Three beaks up. Looking skyward?
4:06:47PM Two seconds later.
4:06:58PM Center eagle appears to be calling. And continues until 4:07:00
4:07:07PM Three eagles. A car pulls up and an older gentleman wants to know what is going on.
4:07:31PM Twenty four seconds later when I get back to the camera? You guessed it. They've done it to me again. We're back to one and I've no idea where the other two went.
4:07:34PM Our little buddy turns and may be checking on me...or not.
4:16:29PM He's still there.
4:19:27PM Guess who's back and I didn't see him come? Okay, I take it back. Eagles don't always look like they are scowling. This one appears to be smirking.
4:19:32PM Back to fishing.
4:19:36PM She calls. I look over to try and see what she is vocalizing about. Note her back is still toward me.
4:20:12PM Seeing nothing I look back at her and guess what? She's switched positions on me. Talons now forward. I missed the switch.
4:20:14PM If that isn't a smirk it is certainly a self satisfied expression.
4:22:41PM It is now minus 5, and I can no longer feel any of my appendages so time to pack it in. I'm sure eagle isn't the least disappointed to see me go. And I'm also sure whichever squirrel made the dray to the eagle's left won't be terribly disappointed when she goes for the day.
NOT FOR THE SENSITIVE
Heart breaking news concerning the Whooping Cranes, just in from Robin of Illinois...
NEW ORLEANS - Someone shot a pair of endangered whooping cranes that had been building practice nests in southwest Louisiana, killing the female and seriously injuring the male, state wildlife officials said Friday.
They were the only birds that had formed a mating bond last year, though they were too young to produce eggs, said Robert Love of the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.
"They were some of our older birds and our best chance for having a more successful nest this year," said Love, the coastal and nongame resources division administrator.
"It's just sickening," he said.
Whooping cranes are among the world's largest and rarest birds, with only about 600 alive today - all descended from 15 that lived in coastal Texas in the 1940s. They are protected under state and federal laws.
The male is from the first group of whooping cranes released in Louisiana in 2011, and the female was from the second group, released later that year, said Adam Einck, spokesman for the department's enforcement division.
In all, 50 cranes have been banded, tagged with radio transmitters and released in an attempt to create a flock like those that once lived in southwest Louisiana. Thirty-two are still alive.
Out of the first 10 released, the male is the only one to survive.
It is expected to live but wildlife agents don't know if it will be able to fly, Einck said. "One of its wings was pretty badly damaged from the shot," he said.
Einck said the birds were hit with birdshot, apparently on Thursday. They were found Friday near Roanoke in Jefferson Davis Parish.
Louisiana's goose season is still open and a landowner had reported earlier in the week that the cranes were "hanging about" with a large flock of snow geese, Love said. But, he said, the shooting couldn't have been a mistake: "There's no mistaking a snow goose for a whooping crane."
An adult whooping crane stands nearly 5 feet tall from red cap to gray-black feet and has a long, slender bill and a wingspan of more than seven feet. Snow geese have short bills, are all white, and are much shorter and lower to the ground.
The injured male crane was being taken about 100 miles to the Louisiana State University veterinary school in Baton Rouge. It was expected to arrive Saturday morning, veterinary school spokeswoman Ginger Guttner said.
Wildlife and fisheries officials offered a $1,000 reward for information leading to whoever shot the birds.
A $15,000 reward failed to bring any arrests after a 3-year-old female - another member of the first group released - was shot and killed last April, Einck said. Two other birds from that group were shot in October 2011 by teenagers in Jefferson Davis Parish. Since then, the department started education programs in southwest Louisiana about whooping cranes and the attempt to build a permanent flock.