Tag Archives: fishing

Look out Below!

diving tern

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Bird Photography Weekly-Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle in Alaska

Winter is a great time to look for Eagles.  We have them here in NJ on both the Delaware and Hudson Rivers as well as most reservoirs.  Many bird groups or Audubon Societies offer winter Eagle field trips.  Check it out and dress warm if you go. I almost froze my patootie once on an eagle trip.

But, let me tell you an Eagle story.

A few weeks ago, as I was driving around the Wanaque Reservoir I glanced through the trees and there were thousands of Common Mergansers sitting on the water.  Thinking there might be other things hanging around with such a large flock, I slowed up and squeezed into the only available hint of a pull-off.  I walked back to peer over the fence and through the trees.  Hoping for a better view, I followed the fence line until I found a thin opening through the trees, when all of a sudden the Merganzers exploded into a swirling mass of white.  I looked up expecting a Peregrine or some other raptor.  What I saw was a 3rd year immature Bald Eagle.  As soon as the flock would settle down onto another part of the water, he would buzz over the top of them causing them to take to flight again.  He did it repeatedly, I could almost hear the laughing.  I watched transfixed.  I had never seen anything like it.  After playing with the Merganser for several passes, he started to swoop low and drag his big yellow feet in the water that they had vacated.  Maybe he was  fishing?  He suddenly veered off to the north when a large adult Bald Eagle appeared.  It started to do the same thing though-flying low over the water and dragging its feet.  Within a few minutes the immature Bald Eagle was back and they both skimmed the water back and forth dragging their feet.  I watched them for perhaps 20 minutes.  They were still doing it when I left.  It was one of those birdwatching moments when I wished someone else had been there to see it.  Have you seen Eagles do this?  Were they fishing?

To see other birds check out Bird Photography Weekly.

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