As I'd done on the last visit, I took a photograph of the nest about every 5 seconds. Then went home, downloaded them and scrutinized everyone of them looking for something that told me the nest was occupied. No good.
Disheartened I went through again, zooming in on each one. I was about to go a third time when I remembered that the white on a Bald Eagle at distance has the rather alarming quality of blending into the sky behind them. Therefore I decided to raise the saturation on each photo before zooming,
in hope of contrasting a bit of white bird part with a bluer sky. The day's first nest shot, nothing! I raised the saturation on the second and zoomed in.
Eureka! There it was the very top curve of a mature eagle's white head...and likely Mom was peering through the twigs at me besides.
The first photo of the day was very blurry and this is the second shot...I conjecture that Mom saw the car, peered out, saw it was me and then sunk back in as in a few shots there is a very occasional skinny sliver of white, but not enough to actually say for sure it was a head. Very clever.
I just happened to have everything set up on the tripod already when I pulled it out of the car. If I'd had to set up on the spot I might well have missed that white curve and never known for sure the eagless was up there. I'm assuming it was Mom but yes it could have been Dad.
Here is my tentative tip for the day, if a sitting eagle is going to peek they likely will peek early on so be prepared.
This does not necessarily go for Red-tailed Hawks. I feel a digression coming on...
As many of you will remember, trying to figure out if the nest behind St. Andrew's elbow at the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine was abandoned or in use was a trial of patience nearly every year.
Various watchers would go each early Spring, look at the nest for awhile and seeing nothing, pronounce it abandoned.
That was my cue to pack some food, trundle my rolling bag up and down several sets of subway stairs and take the trip to Harlem. I'd set up on the sidewalk for a very long session...of waiting.
Isolde had incredible discipline about not popping her head up and looking out. She just didn't do it. In fact as the nest had been used for numerous seasons the bowl was so deep she could do all sorts of moving in there and we couldn't see her...plus she had peek holes between the twigs.
So some years, I'd be starting on hour three without a wiggle from the nest, thank goodness for curious pedestrians who asked what I was looking at, when I'd see a glint of something between the nest twigs. I'd focus on that area and eventually I could tell she was there.
After getting my fill of apparently photographing an empty eagle nest, which didn't turn out to be empty thank goodness, I headed out to see what else I could see.
Remember the juvenile Bald Eagles that were enjoying possum the other day? Their curve of the Rock River was my next stop.
No eagles in flight but plenty of waterfowl. Not only were there something close to a hundred Canada Goose, but also a handful of Mallards and some other small waterfowl with flicky white wings that zipped past in the air so fast I couldn't identify them or even get my camera up in time to snag their photo.
It seemed everyone would float downstream and then periodically in pairs or small groups they would then fly upstream. I thought no stupid duckies these. Save those calories.
At least I thought they might be doing that when...
Here came Rocky the young Bald Eagle flying upstream with purpose.
He navigates through the twigs he's using for cover very nicely.
Still sticking to cover. That sort of scrofulous patchy coloring of young Bald Eagles begins to make sense doesn't it?
Here we have a demonstration of the phrase "spread eagle" for a human who with arms wide and body flat takes a header.
But not so Rocky. He grabs the perch and sticks while apparently still keeping a bead on his possible prey.
And with that cliffhanger, I have to break off for tonight....The
Saga continues tomorrow!
But if this is the first post you've read today keep scrolling down for the previous post of the day concerning Quicksilver the African Grey Parrot, the Tortoise, and the Hare.