The road to Fort Pickens has been closed for repair for about two months. But it reopened yesterday at 9 a.m., and I was there by 10:30.
No Ospreys. Not a single one. There are usually a few young males who don’t migrate, just hanging around and acting like typical teenagers. But if they’re out there they were staying well-hidden yesterday.
So … what did I see? Several beautiful Great Blue Herons like this guy. Their breeding plumage is beginning to show, just in time for them to impress the lady Great Blues. And they’re vying for the most advantageous spots where they can show off to greatest effect (or, so I imagine).
But the coolest part of the day was to catch not one but TWO juvenile Bald Eagles, soaring about as if they own the place. Here’s the first one:
He was soaring above the bike trail, zooming back and forth as if to say “Yeah, get a good look. Aren’t I beautiful?” And he was. I caught him in this perfect eagle soar –
and again just showing off (or so I thought). I shot 45 images of him in about 30 seconds.
And here’s another view.
Then I went back to the picnic shelter at Battery Worth to have my lunch. And, as I sat there looking out at the stark landscape I’m so used to seeing ospreys in, I spotted this single bird, far away, sitting on top of a dead tree. And just as I trained my lens on it, it jumped and soared – right across my field of view and away into the trees.
Their marking are clearly different, and the amount of white and brown feathers indicates their exact age. But I don’t know enough about Bald Eagles to guess how old either of these is. But I do know that they won’t have the distinctive Bald Eagle white head and tail until they’re 4 or 5 years old.
So these two are just kids. Maybe a male and female? Maybe they’ll find each other and start an entirely new colony of eagles out there. That would be interesting – especially if the eagles begin to compete with the Ospreys and GBHs for nesting space.
Meanwhile, I’m staying in today. After four straight days of bike riding, my old legs need a break. So I’m entertainng myself watching the new buds on my orchid begin to develop. Here are six of the dozen or so that seem to be developing.