Expect The Unexpected

I’m too tired to post much tonight.

We hustled today to get out the door by 11 so we could head over to Sweetwater Creek State Park to do some birdwatching. It was a miserable day by most standards. It was cold, it started raining, it was gloomy looking all day.

The boys were excited to get back over to the park, we’ve been away for more than three weeks, so it was nice to pull in by the bait shop and see the resident geese and ducks.

We we’re there long before the youngest saw something white fly into the trees across the lake. He’s eight years old and he spots more birds than the rest of us combined.

Anyway, here’s what we saw:

Bald Eagle 1

 

Bald Eagle 2

 

Bald Eagle 3

 
I know this post is probably a little bit repetitive for some of you. If you have connected with me on Facebook then you’ve seen them already, but for those of you who haven’t you can see them at flickr.

We’re not sure if this is the same eagle we saw in October, but it sure was beautiful (and a lot closer than the one in October).

Now, I need to get to bed. It’s almost midnight and there’s talk that I will driving them back over to the park around 9am. We’ll see about that. We’ll definitely be back over at the park tomorrow, I’m just not sure how early it’s really going to be. With my luck, it will be 9am.

Until then,

There is an eagle in me that wants to soar, and there is a hippopotamus in me that wants to wallow in the mud.
Carl Sandburg

Another Day With The Bald Eagle

We had so much fun yesterday, and we were so intrigued by the sighting of the Bald Eagle, that we returned to Sweetwater Creek State Park today to see if the eagle was still in the area.

 
When we arrived at the park, we set up our picnic blanket and tripods on a small hill overlooking the lake, directly across from where we last saw it.

 
It didn’t take long before we realized we were the ones being watched. Soaring high above us, was the bald eagle.

 
Here’s some information about the bald eagle from Wikipedia.

The Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) is a bird of prey found in North America that is most recognizable as the national bird and symbol of the United States of America. This sea eagle has two known sub-species and forms a species pair with the White-tailed Eagle. Its range includes most of Canada and Alaska, all of the contiguous United States and northern Mexico. It is found near large bodies of open water with an abundant food supply and old-growth trees for nesting.

The Bald Eagle is a large bird, with a body length of 70–102 centimeters (28–40 in), a wingspan of up to 2.44 m (96 in), and a mass of 2.5–7 kilograms (5.5–15 lb); females are about 25 percent larger than males. The adult Bald Eagle has a brown body with a white head and tail, and bright yellow irises, taloned feet, and a hooked beak; juveniles are completely brown except for the yellow feet. Males and females are identical in plumage coloration. Its diet consists mainly of fish, but it is an opportunistic feeder. It hunts fish by swooping down and snatching the fish out of the water with its talons. It is sexually mature at four years or five years of age. In the wild, Bald Eagles can live up to thirty years, and often survive longer in captivity. The Bald Eagle builds the largest nest of any North American bird, up to 4 meters (13 ft) deep, 2.5 meters (8.2 ft) wide, and one tonne (1.1 tons) in weight.

The species was on the brink of extinction in the continental United States (while flourishing in much of Alaska and Canada) late in the 20th century, but now has a stable population and has been officially removed from the U.S. federal government’s list of endangered species. The Bald Eagle was officially reclassified from “Endangered” to “Threatened” on July 12, 1995 by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service. On July 6, 1999, a proposal was initiated “To Remove the Bald Eagle in the Lower 48 States From the List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife.” It was de-listed on June 28, 2007.

We spent seven hours at the park watching the Bald Eagle and other birds, like the Great Blue Heron, the Belted Kingfisher, and others. It was a great ending to a wonderful weekend. You can see more photos of this eagle in my photo gallery which is linked at the top of this page.

Tomorrow is D day, as in Dentist day, so my post might be a bit late.

A Graceful And Magestic Day

We spent the day today over at Sweetwater Creek State Park. As you no doubt know by now, because I have mentioned it before, the boys and I are avid photographers and birders.

We started our day at the annual Sweetwater Camera Club annual BBQ, which was held, ironically, at Picnic Shelter #2 at the state park, just across the main road from one of our favorite birding locations.

We took Gidget with us, so she could meet everyone from the camera club, and after the picnic/bbq we ventured over to our favorite spot. On a normal Saturday we would see osprey, great blue herons, kingfishers, cormorants, geese, ducks, and an occasional hawk. This was no ordinary Saturday.

Soon after arriving, we thought we had spotted an osprey diving across the lake, but when it didn’t hit the water in typical osprey fashion, we took a closer look, and soon realized we were watching something truly magnificent (not saying osprey are not magnificent too).

 
This is the first bald eagle we have seen at Sweetwater Creek State Park, and we settled in at a spot across the lake from where it was perching on a tree.

 
It would fly out from the tree, dive down to the water to grab something to eat, and then fly back up into the tree.

 
When we got home this evening, we phoned in our sighting of the eagle to the rare bird hotline. Overall, we spent about five hours at the park today and we’re already charging our batteries so we can go back tomorrow.