Our Story Looking For Eagles

Heron-Strut

Follow me. Eagles this way, maybe?

How about a post about eagles, that is lacking in pictures of eagles. Well, my friend and I did see eagles, in fact many times we even THOUGHT we were seeing eagles. We were joking that we are terrible birdwatchers and probably should keep quiet when going with the group of experienced birdwatchers with whom we have been traveling. Almost every big bird in the sky we thought was an eagle until we got a better look at it.

3Swans

We saw osprey on a nest and thought they were eagles.

Osprey-Nest

The little head poking eye level above the nest, glowing big eyes, well not an eagle.

The osprey nest was so expertly constructed and large, we were sure it was an eagle’s nest. Osprey in Niagara County are not experienced craftsbirds in nest-building. Their nests are such a mess, it is amazing they just don’t fall apart.

MontezumaWildlife

In Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge the osprey constructed a palace of a nest. So we did not feel too bad thinking we might had found an eagle’s nest. Maybe we were tired, but it was getting so bad that even sticks in the marsh became a bird sighting.

Herring-Gull-Winter

We saw this huge gull that we were unsure (might be a Herring Gull), but at least we did not think it an eagle. It was bigger than all the other gulls in the marsh. A few giant blackbirds (crows maybe) had me fooled for a few seconds. I’m not kidding, they were big. In my defense, the naturalist told me to keep an eye out for the darker juveniles and flying in the sun’s glare… OK, I know this was crazy when I shouted, “eagle”. I recouped my dignity quickly as I raised my binoculars to my face.

Flooded-Cornfield

We finally did see three eagle’s nests but they were very high in the trees and far in the distance. I guess the welded platform along the road should have been a big clue it was an osprey nest, but hey, it was really big.

When in Doubt, Solicit Help

We whined our eagle woes to a local resident and birdwatcher. Taking pity, he helped us find the eagle nests, one shown below. You can barely see the mother eagle feeding the young. She is in the middle of the nest in front of the center tree limb. At least after seeing this, we were able to spot them.

Eagle-Nest

Having had little luck on our own, we were lucky to meet this kind gentleman. We went to the Refuge on Thursday without our birding friends who were going on Sunday, a day we both had plans. So we did need to meet someone in the know.

Our new friend, the tour guide had us follow him in our car to the eagle nest locations. I have to say it really was exciting seeing the eagles through his scope feeding their young.

I did get a number of terrible photos of a Bald Eagle being chased by a hawk, so I might as well show one for proof. I am not even sure which type of hawk is in pursuit. It looks a little like a light-morph of some type.

Bald-Eagle

See how pale it is? No red tail either.

Yellowlegs4-3-14

A whole post coming up on this bird. Very pretty images of it through the day.

If you are wondering why there is a Lesser Yellowlegs in this post, that is what I was shooting when we met the birder. He was also viewing them through his scope, then we mentioned our eagle finding dilemma. Lucky we did!

TundraSwans

Yes, I can say we had eagles on the brain, but there was so much to see at the Refuge and those birds were equally as interesting. It is not often you see flocks of Tundra Swan and over 10,000 Snow Geese. You cannot imagine what this is like and had we not been with our “tour guide,” we would have missed them too.

Some of the big flocks were on private property and you can tell because a few were on flooded cornfields.Β  The Snow Geese just went on and on in the image below. There was no way to show how far they extended without a tripod to do a panorama.

Thousands-of-Snow-Geese

CanadaGoose

My friend and I were not too adept at identifying muskrat either. We thought they were beavers. That is a muskrat abode above, and of course we thought it was a beaver house.

Not a beaver.

Not a beaver.

We had fun even though we mistook many birds and animals for something else. On the 27th, we go with the birders on another trip to a birding hotspot. We decided to wait and be told what we’re seeing. At least we finally knew these were Northern Pintails and not Long-tailed Ducks below. Score one for the new birders.

Pintails

Next up… a post looking at Lesser or Greater. A bit more on the introspective side, this post looks at lingering around the marsh. Then we stay serious with, Are You Playing Tourist?, a post looking at images posted. Does it even matter?

 

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About Garden Walk Garden Talk

I love to photograph, paint, draw, design, garden, travel the world, and pass on a few tips and ideas that I learned through experience as a Master Gardener and architect. I am highly trained in my field and enjoy my work each and every day. I garden in Niagara Falls, NY in zone 6-B. Find me at: http://gardenwalkgardentalk.com
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17 Responses to Our Story Looking For Eagles

  1. Nest Full of Birds says:

    Hehe. I loved your caption “Not a Beaver.” I’m from the “beaver state” and even I wasn’t sure until you said something. πŸ™‚ I’m also bird crazy and I love this post. Thank you for the fun stories and the beautiful photographs.

  2. alesiablogs says:

    your terrible shots are good to me! lol

  3. Debra says:

    It sounds like you and your friend had a wonderful adventure. =)
    I can’t wait to hear/see more about the lesser yellowlegs.

  4. Very funny, at least you were enthusiastic “eagle” spotters.

  5. acuriousgal says:

    I love your adventures, such a great post. Just loved that little”beaver”πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ™‹

  6. swo8 says:

    I thought the grey bird there was a Heron?
    Leslie

  7. pretty awesome “terrible” shots! πŸ™‚

  8. bittster says:

    Nice Eagle story! haha. It sounds like you had a great visit, you really did see a lot and it’s making me want to find my own flock of thousands of snow geese to watch and enjoy.

  9. Annette says:

    Fabulous day out, Donna, you weren’t disappointed I’d say. I enjoyed the pics of all your birds. We have different eagles here as well but birdwatching can be tricky at times and one needs lots of patience with identification etc. but at the end of the day, it’s fun, a day out and there’s so much to see…even if it’s not always what we expect πŸ˜‰

  10. Ha ha! Sounds like a fun trip!

  11. Rose says:

    Ha, ha, Donna, I would enjoy going birding with you:) Not because I could find eagles for you, but because I would be even worse at identifying the birds. I’d love to see the eagles, but I’d be just as happy seeing all the different birds you saw–10,000 snow geese must have been amazing!

  12. A.M.B. says:

    Great story! It looks like you found many interesting birds and animals while in pursuit of the elusive eagle, but it’s a good thing you asked for help!

  13. My Heartsong says:

    I enjoyed the outing, Donna.and remember when looking for an eagle’s nest-it was so-so(not an eagle’s nest) then I rotated and saw the real thing – HUGE.I think that was a red-tail hawk.There is a hint of red showing through and if it had flipped over, it would have been more evident. Also the leading edge on the wings, and breast band. But I am not an expert by any stretch of the imagination. I have had many “this is NOT a ____,” but always enjoy the search because something always shows up.Thanks for your post.

  14. Indie says:

    Sounds very enjoyable, even if you didn’t see very many eagles! I loved the pictures. The light colored hawk is so interesting. I was wondering what all those rows of plants sticking above the water were – I’m assuming they were the flooded cornfields? What a great place to bird watch!

  15. Well in spite of not seeing that many eagles this was a cool post filled with lots of wonderful bird shots. I enjoyed it very much.

  16. I liked the picture with the eagle and hawk. Very cool to be able to see eagles, even with some bumps on the way. Usually if you want to see eagles here you have to drive over to the Illinois river or (for better odds) the Mississippi.

  17. We have eagles across the street but they only come over here flying very high so no pictures. I will say that we have many eagles now at Onondaga Lake especially on the State Fair side as they are dredging the lake and cleaning it up. And they also are redoing the shore plantings and creating a new walkway. I hope in a year we may be able to walk over and see the eagles. We see them when driving on the highway. Huge in the trees.

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