The McGills discovered Jim and ‘his’ eagles over eight years ago. Theywere out for a Sunday ‘exploration’ drive when they ran across a field of deer carcasses. On further study they discovered eagles in the trees. They visited the area several more times that winter. On one of those visits they met Jim and the rest as they say is history.
The following entries are from the Eagle Journal Teresa has been keeping since she and Michael started their research eight years ago at Jim Habasco's farm in Charlevoix County in Northern Michigan. Their first season they spent December through March in a roughly constructed "eagle blind". It was a 6' x 4' wooden structure with no insulation and little peepholes with plexiglass covers for shooting out of. They had a port-a-pot and a five gallon bucket to sit on and a little "buddy" heater to help stave off the cold Northern Michigan winter. That did not deter them from going every chance they could that winter. It paid off in aces as they say (see photos of Ripper on the Eagle page).
The following year they had moved on up to the big times with a 1955 travel trailer that Michael was in the process of remodeling to become their summer home/studio in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. It did at least have some insulation and a little bed for one of them to lay down on when boredom over took them. And they had real windows! And best of all room to move around in. They were actually able to get the now fully remodeled travel trailer positioned before deer hunting season began in November. So they spent many a day, sometimes even back to back days out enjoying the beauty of Nature at its finest. When not shooting eagles, ravens and hawks Teresa spends many ot this days updating her journal, website and FACEBOOK page.
Eagle Journal March 24, 2013
It is 22 degrees and overcast when we get to the blind at 6:45am. The wind is slight out of the east-northeast.
The crows and ravens are right on schedule at 7:00am with their wake-up calls.by 7:20 we have them soaring and calling as they check out the pile. One crow decides to sit guard for a while.
7:25am our fist eagle into the west tree. It is a full mature…probably Mudhen or Smudge. Pooh…it took off five minutes later heading back to the east.
Nothing but silence now!!
A few minutes later four ravens arrive quietly on the pile…then gone. A crow lands near the far carcass…then it’s gone. This continues most of the morning. A gull flies over but doesn’t stay.
The crows and ravens are doing a lot of squawking and carrying on in the swamp. I’m not sure what that’s all about.
We have two red-tailed hawks soaring around…but not coming in.
11:30am the mature eagle is back to the perching tree...but it just sits. We have a deer feeding on cedars along the tree line. It’s fun to see it stand on its hind legs reaching up to eat.
I am about ready to call it a day…while there is still a day left to do something else. But we wait.
A red-tailed hawk flies into the woods where it stirs up a raven and some deer…interesting. The other red-tailed hawk takes off out of a tree and soars to the east.
There isn’t much meat left on the carcass to call in anything. “The boys” didn’t think we would need a meat ball. They though it would just get scattered out in the field. We’d at least get something in to do the scattering and maybe something to pick up the pieces.
Michael decided to go back and bring out a piece of meat. Well, Jim was there so he brought Michael back out so the birds wouldn’t see him.
Well, it didn’t take long and the gulls flew over screaming. It took a while before they were back with their friends. Then it took them forever to finally come into the pile. They actually didn’t do that till Mudhen had taken off for the third and final time today.
Once the eagle had left the red-tailed hawks did several flybys spooking the gulls. But when all was said and done…nothing came into the meat except the gulls.
We left at 5:30pm for the final time this season. Wish it had been a better day for raptors and for sunshine…but there is always another year. We are just very privileged to be able to get this up close and personal with these amazing creatures sharing 'family' moments with our territorial pair make every season priceless! Now we are off to get the trailer ready to head across the Bridge to our home away from home the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.
Eagle Journal March 17, 2013
It is 14 degrees at 6:3am when we arrive at the blind. It has really snowed a lot here probably 6 inches or more.
The crows give us our wakeup call at 7:15. They are on the ground by 7:35am along with four big ravens.
They actually are on the meat pile then gone then back within 15 minutes.
A 1st year eagle comes into the tree to the west at 7:55am. By 8:10 the sun is breaking through the clouds. A crow is on the meat again…back and forth…in and out. All of a sudden it took off screaming after something.
The barometric pressure is high…which should be good for the critters.
A big raven is in at 8:20 it took off low toward the tree line. Come to find out there is a big male coyote is slinking through the woods skirting around us.
The skies are clearing and it is gorgeous out…now just bring on the action. 8:45 the first gull flies over. The ravens and crows are carrying on…making a ruckus…flying in and out…then gone.
9:00 it is 17 degrees and clear skies with the eagle still just sitting in the tree. Another eagle later the eagle is still just sitting.
10:05 and we have seven crows on the carcass….then poof…gone! 10:20 the gull is hightailing it out of ‘dodge’ for some reason…strange.
10:45 finally another 1st year eagle flies in and knocks the first one off of its perch. Then a young coyote slinks across the field acting like it would like to come into the meat pile but it is getting a whiff of humans. A raven decides to play ‘chicken’ with it. It bounces around it then as the coyote approaches it…it takes off.
While I take a computer break...I look up to find a rough-legged hawk on the meat pile surrounded by the crows and ravens. I was able to snap a quick pic before it left. That's what happens when you lose your focus.
One of the eagles takes off heading northeast. Then a 3rd year eagle flies in. four ravens and twelve crows are to the pile as the first chatters at the 3rd year.
The 3rd year soars over us around 11:40. The ravens are gathering deer hair for their nest then flying into the swamp.
12:00 the 1st year eagle is back playing musical trees with the other 1st year. A mature eagle flies over chattering as it goes but keeps heading east.
The crows are back at 12:15pm to the meat pile. Another eagle, a 2nd year comes into the tree with the 1st years…and the gulls are back.
1:15 and the eagles are gone. The 2nd year flies over the pile at 1:45…it eventually lands on the ground then back to the perching tree.
Two red-tailed hawks are soaring around together. Our eagle left at 2:40 to go sit in the pine tree to the east.
The gulls and crows are on the meat pile. Our 2nd year eagle is back to the tree. All of a sudden one of the red-tailed hawks attacks the eagle. They eagle takes off and the red-tail continues to dive bomb the poor eagle. This happens every year at this time. The red-tails are ready to nest and trying to clear all intruders out of their territory.
The 2nd year comes back at 3:10pm and landed on the ground…then back to the tree. The eagle is chattering at something but not sure just what.
4:25 the red-tailed hawks are soaring around again. The eagle is chattering at them. Then a crow decides to tantalize the eagle with a scrap of meat. It flies over to where the eagle is sitting in the tree…and drops the scrap. The eagle goes down on the ground to find it. It really wasn’t big enough to hunt for but…oh well…I guess it’s just the adventure.
The eagle went back up to its tree and continued to sit there till we left at 6:00pm. Well, beautiful sunshine and clear skies but no action. Bummer! One more Sunday left in the blind…hopefully, we will get action and sunshine.
Wildlife photographers Michael and Teresa McGill will present “Amazing Michigan Wildlife: A Photographic Journey” at the Boyne District Library on Wednesday, March 27, at 7 p.m. in the community room.
The McGills have been enjoying wildlife photography for more than 12 years. They are residents of Central Lake, and Teresa works at Mary’s of Boyne in Boyne City. They spend time in the Boyne City area photographing and filming bald eagles in the winter months, and in the Upper Peninsula photographing and filming black bears, sandhill cranes, loons, and other wildlife.
The McGills will show slides of their photographs, and will share their journey from taking snapshots to serious photography and videography, including their work with wildlife research teams.
What started as recreation for the McGills has transformed into a passion and a business, McGill’s Nature in Motion. Michael and Teresa spend hours in blinds or crouched in the brush waiting to photograph or film various wildlife.
“We like to think we are just ordinary people discovering extraordinary things in this wonderful state of Michigan we call home,” said Teresa. “We hope to spread the word about what this Great Lakes State has to offer, from the Pictured Rocks to your backyard.”
Eagle Journal February 24, 2013
A full moon is laying low in the western sky as we approach Bauman Rd. Then the fog obscures it from sight as we head toward Jim’s. It is 12 degrees but now wind. Michael has to plow this morning so he followed me out to the blind to make sure everything was fine.
By 7:00am I hear the first raven waking everything up in the swamp. Shortly afterwards I have one eagle in a tree to the east, another one flies to the west dropping in to the swamp.
By 7:10 the ravens and crows start showing up in the trees. Another eagle arrives and lands on the perching tree. Looks like it’s going to be a good day in the eagle blind!
The 3rd year from the perching tree dropped down to the ground at the old bone pile where, of course, the ravens we pickin’ on bones.
The eagle from the east tree moved down closer to the perching tree which puts it in front of me. The one on the ground went to the tree to the east….whatever!
We have a raven party at 7:40am!! Over twenty ravens slowly moved into the pile. It is so fun to watch them. First they pounce around, puff up and try to impress each other, and then one by one they fly in closer to the carrion pile.
While the ravens are partying a 5th eagle flies into the mix stirring things up. But the ravens go right back to enjoying themselves. The 5th year must be the one that flew by this morning. Shortly afterwards another eagle flies in with the 5th year chattering constantly.
Around 8:20am it looks like a 4th year appears…yeah…that makes five eagles!!! We have more coming in!! Looks like Mudhen and Smudge might be among the late comers. The eagles scatter down the tree line from the far east to the far west. There is lots of chattering going on this morning.
The ravens are still partying when one takes off with a piece of meat. Of course, the ravens know that the eagles are just waiting to chase them. The 5th year takes off first…then eagles everywhere!! They are coming from across the road, too. We had at least five eagles in the air. Then they all settle down to watch the ravens continue to party.
The ravens are really acting crazy…they are devouring the carrion. Usually they just poke and play with the food. The eagles are in constant motion…from one tree to the next…so of them fly off…but come back eventually.
Before 9:00am we have a 1st year, 4th year, 2 5th year and 3 matures that I have been able to discern.
The 5th year did another fly by then the 1st year and a 2nd year and even a 3rd year!! All of sudden they all continued to the west chasing and soaring around.
Never fear the eagles are back! There is lots of chattering amongst the eagles in the tree to the west. I have at least six eagles in the trees scattered along the tree lines.
The ravens are back, too, having a good time. Some of them are digging for ‘buried’ treasure others are trying to get friendly with each other. It is so cute to see them ‘snuggle’ up with each other. They even appear to kiss and hug. They are truly fascinating creatures to watch.
The eagles are out moving around again. I have at least one in the trees but usually four or five. The ravens surprisingly have stayed around. They usually disappear for long periods of time but today they are either in the trees or on the ground.
The ravens are back farther in the field. I’m hoping they move up closer and get the eagles moving around again. Something must have spooked them…all of a sudden they are back to the trees. The 5th year that I had hoped would come in heads west.
Yeah, the first gull drops down to the pile around 11:00am. The 5th year and a mature take off soaring over the swamp. They are just stretching their wings…they are back to the trees shortly.
Now four gulls are on the ground. The 5th year did a fly by then back to the trees. I was hoping for more action then this today.
Bam! A raven took off with a piece of meat the gulls had loosened. We have a battle in the sky. The raven, of course, drops the meat and the eagles vie for the chance to win the prize!
So many eagle are flying around I can’t keep track of them all!! Unfortunately, the lighting keeps changing…clouds go from heavy to light so I am constantly changing my settings.
Now the gulls start an eating frenzy…fighting each other…then off one goes with a piece of meat.
Then the sky is filled with eagles!!!! There has to be at least seven of them!! Awesome!!!
They all settle back into the trees for a while around 12:30pm. Then the 5th year followed by the 3 ½ year circle around the blind.
All of a sudden the gulls fly off…the 5th year had its eye on a piece of meat near the blind. Dang!! It nabbed it but just out of my camera range!!! URRRGGHHHH!!! And the chase ensues yet again!! Gotta love the action today!! I haven’t been able to work on the computer at all…thank goodness.
Ok it is 12:50pm and the sun is shining!!!! NOW FLY EAGLES FLY!!
Eagles flying everywhere!! I did get the 2 ½ year with some great lighting!! I had to open the side window to get them. They were flying so fast and furious!!! Amazing to watch!!
One of the mature eagles lands on the ground farther out. The sun is shining on her beautifully. Unfortunately, she flies off. When she takes off I notice she is banded on the right leg indicating a Lower Peninsula born bird.
By 2:00 only one eagle, the 5th year, has actually gotten anything to eat, so hopefully I will have some action here soon. The sky is mostly sunny but the winds have picked up and the clouds are moving in and out over the sun causing lighting issues.
The gulls have been slowly pulling some of the frozen meat off leaving pieces scattered all around.
Well, here is the action of been wanting the right banded 3 ½ year old lands and takes off several times before going into a ‘frenzy’. He literally zooms around in circles swooping down to see what piece he wants to nab.
I am able to get on him as he nabs a piece of meat right in front of me!!!! Its triumph is short lived as the 1 ½ year and mature chase him. The poor 3 ½ year accidently drops the meat, the 1 ½ year catches it in midair. But…that triumph was also short lived as the mature latched on to the meat still in the 1 ½ year’s talons. They actually flipped each other over while both were holding on to the meat. The mature eagle won the battle though and went back to the trees to eat its reward.
Wow!! Amazing just to be able to watch that let alone capture it!!!
The 2 ½ year eagle must have nabbed a piece of meat at the same time because now there is a battle in a tree!! I thought at first the 1 ½ year and 2 ½ year were tangled. They were screaming bloody murder!!! A mature was above them watching the whole thing. Finally they both lifted their heads. What was happening after I looked at the photos was the 1 ½ year wanted what the 2 ½ year had. The 2 ½ year was ‘mantling’ its food from the other eagles. How cool is that? That’s what I love about what I get to do…seeing the interaction between eagles and their neighbors.
Well, the 3 ½ year was not giving up!!! He landed near the pile and slowly made its way in. It didn’t take it long to get right down to business!!! It wasn’t taking a chance on flying off with it this time…he was going to stay and eat till he was full!!! The 2 ½ year popped down behind it but didn’t try to bother it. When it had finally had its fill the 3 ½ year took off to absorb its meal.
The other eagles continued to sit around chattering. Smudge came in and took Mudhen off with her to the swamp to the northwest. The ravens came back in to the pile to bother the gulls. The ravens are such connivers. They pop in and try to get the gulls to take off with piece of meat. If the gulls don’t do then they pick up one and take off!! And then, of course, the eagles fly.
The ravens ended up back by the woods to the east where one of them had dropped a piece of meat. Of course, their buddies the eagles popped down to check it out. But that was pretty much the end of the action. From 4:00 on they just set in the trees. I decide to stay till 5:00pm. I want to make sure no one else comes into eat. I am hoping they will still be hungry tomorrow when Michael comes back out with me. We shall see.
Below is a copy of the certificate stating that the banded eagle I figured to be a 3 1/2 year truly is!! Banded on 5/21/2010. I was able to zoom in on my photos to read the band!
Eagle Journal February 10, 2013
It is 17 degrees at 6:00am in the eagle blind with partly cloudy skies and a slight breeze. I’m hoping for a little sunshine for part of the day at least.
The ravens are calling around 7:25am. It is actually getting light earlier especially today with a break in the cloud cover. A raven does a flyby then it goes and sits in the perching tree ‘gronking’ for over ten minutes!! He is telling everyone that there are fresh treats for them. Hopefully, ‘everyone’ will pay attention and come in to eat.
Another raven flyby at 7:50 followed by our first eagle into the trees!! It is a 1st year and it, of course, goes to the big tree to the west. A raven is next to it swinging by its beak on a twig!! Love to watch them play like that. They are so darn comical and intelligent.
Another raven does a flyby at 8:00 with more coming in to the area.
The eagle is on the ground at 8:10 back at the old bone pile with a raven. That’s not where I want them to go!!
A crow is in on the pile for a minute at 8:30. Then a couple of starlings come in to eat. It is 8:50 before the ravens come back through. Then I see the first gull at 8:55 but it doesn’t hang around.
9:05 a raven is on the ground then a gull. It looks like it might be starting to clear off a little more!!!
Finally at 9:45 the gulls come on to the good stuff with still one eagle just sitting in the tree.
It is so comically to listen to all the sounds the different birds make especially when it the wind isn’t blowing out. The air is still and the noises are enhanced. The little starlings sitting on the roof sound just like R2D2 from Star Wars!!
The 1styear came down on the ground around 9:55 for a few minutes. The sun was actually shining when it came in!!!
Our 1st year is starting to molt into her next phase of plumage. Her ‘rosie’ chest feathers are starting to turn white. She’s also getting her ‘bandit’ eye stripe.
It came back in again around 10:50 for a minute. Then around 11:15 it did a flyby. She’s getting hungry….I hope.
We have a 2nd year in at 11:45. It flies by then into the tree to knock the 1st year out of her tree. Then they do a lot of back and forth trying to the other one to come in to get food.
Baby flies by but continues on across the road away from the 2nd year bully.
12:00 the 2nd year is on the ground!!! Then back to the perching tree to sit. It is starting to cloud up and it is 35 degrees.
We now have 20+ gulls just sitting in the field to the northwest of us. 12:40 they noise is back as the gulls come back on the pile.
The 2nd year does another flyby at 12:50 then on the ground at 1:15!! I was so hoping he was going to come in and eat but….doesn’t look like it is going to happen.
Our 2nd year is also starting to molt into its next phase of plumage. The 3rd year phase starts to acquire darker chest and head feathers.
Another eagle flies high overhead soaring west. It looked like a 3rd year.
Baby flies back over around 1:30 then keeps flying north over the swamp as the 2nd year chatters at her.
The gulls are on and off the pile acting weird. Finally around 2:00 they are back at it. We have a 5th year in the mix now!!
The 2nd year took off soaring but was back in just a few minutes. It is acting weird. It dropped down on the ground like it was getting something then took off back to the trees. It came back and hovered like a hawk over the same area. Very strange!! It made another flyby and snatched something that the gulls had drug off to the east of the blind. Dang!!!
Well, the good ole boys are coming in to the pile. Three big puffed up ravens are bouncing around like the three stooges!! “You go…no you go….no, no you go!”
All of a sudden a gull took off with some meat and the chase was on! The 5th year took off after it. Baby came back from across the road to get in on the action.
We have the 1st, 2nd and 5th year all around the place snatching and grabbing what they think is something to eat. Most of the time it isn’t but it’s more of a game than anything important like being hungry.
3:30 they are just playing more games!! The 1st and 5th year sat on the ground to the west of us for almost a half an hour waiting to see who would go first. Oh brother!!
We get another 2nd year in to the mix but none of them come in to the pile. The wind is picking up and the barometer is dropping so we decide to head out around 4:00 before the rain starts.
Eagle Journal February 3, 2013
It is ten degrees as we get to the eagle blind this morning. There is a slight breeze but no too cold actually. Unfortunately, it is going to be overcast and snowy. It seems like every Saturday is sunny but come Sunday the gloom sets back in.
8:00 the raven ‘alarm’ goes off. They are like clockwork…heading out of the swamp around the same time every time. By 8:15 we have a raven fly by…checking out the treats.
8:25 a mature eagle comes flying out of the swamp…but it heads across the road to sit in the shelter of the trees out of the wind? Oh well, at least I saw one this morning.
8:30 there are four ravens on the ground. They are being very lovey dovey. One pair kissed and hugged and laid down one the ground together. It was very cute to watch, unfortunately, it was still a little too dark for pictures.
The gull was in on the ground at 9:00 but then…gone. So it looks like it’s going to be one of those days. Quiet! Of course it even gets a little brighter out…before anything is around to ‘shoot’.
The gull is back at 9:40 but it is now snowing pretty steady. The gull basically just sits…it doesn’t even eat.
At 11:10 the gull flies off…that’s because a red-tailed hawk just flew over. Unfortunately, it just kept flying…into the swamp.
11:45 and it is snowing really heavy now. It has warmed up to 19 degrees. The wind is out of the southwest so we are comfortable in the blind. Our windows are opened to the north.
We now have two gulls and a raven flying by…wow…such action!
Finally at 12:05 a mature flies into the trees from across the road. It, of course, just sits there. At one point it is snowing so hard I can’t even see it. By 12:30 the winds have started to pick up and it’s a complete white out.
The mature changes trees so that is now right in front of us, at least, it makes it easier to see. But by 1:00 it had enough of the blowing and snowing and headed back across the road to shelter.
Shortly after that we have four gulls. That is the most action we have had all day…pathetic!
The snow keeps coming down so we decided to call it a day. I am hopeful, once again, that next week will be better.
As we are heading out we spot at least two eagles sitting in the ravine across from Jim’s…smart birds.
Eagle Journal January 27, 2013
It’s a balmy 19 degrees as we head out to the blind. There isn’t much wind and the skies are overcast. What happened to our mostly sunny day?
Oh well, I spot a red-tailed hawk fly out of the swamp heading south around 8:00am. A few ravens are squawking in the distance but no one coming in to see us.
By 8:30am it is spitting snow…doesn’t look like we’ll be seeing sun today. We have a couple of starlings that are brave enough to come in and eat.
By 9:00 we have our first eagle in the tree to the west. It is a mature eagle. 9:30 finally some action on th ground…a few gulls have come in to wake us up.
9:35 the mature eagle is on the ground to the east!! The eagle circles and lands right in front of us. Unfortunately, it is out too far too really get any great shots. Hopefully, it will work its way in closer!!!
No luck…it sat out in the snow for over an hour!! The ravens tried to get it to do something…anything…but no way. And, of course, it is snowing quite hard so any pictures are not going to be real clear.
We have ten or more ravens back on the old bone pile near the woods. They love to pick at the old bones. Funny to watch them playing around…now I know why people call them ‘bone pickers’.
Great, now the eagle is on the ground with the ravens back at their pile. Whatever!!
It is actually pulling hide off an old deer carcass. Crazy bird…there is fresh meat here for the taking.
10:45 we have another mature eagle soaring really high over the swamp. A little later I spot a red-tailed hawk soaring around…no make that two hawks. Hopefully, we will see one of them come in today.
We have 5th year eagle in at 10:55 to the perching tree but….Mudhen chases him to the east. It tries to hide in the cedars but Mudhen wants him ‘out of the area’ and proceeds to chase him across the swamp.
Mudhen returns to the perching tree a little later…pleased as punch. We now have over thirty gulls on the pile carrying on. A raven is bored so he chases a gull around in circles till he tires of that game.
12:00 on the dot and Ms. Smudge comes in to check on her mate, Mudhen. She chatters away at him knocking him off the perching tree so she can sit there. She then proceeds to fly off back into the swamp.
12:20 Mudhen drops down on the ground closer to the pile…but doesn’t stay long enough for photos. Then back to a tree where he sits camouflaged…from most observers.
I was working on the computer when he disappeared. Nope there he is on the ground with the ravens…again.
1:45 I’m working on the computer again when the gulls take off. I look up and there is a beautiful adult red-tailed hawk on the pile. I was able to snap a photo before it took off back to the hide in the trees.
It does a fly by again around 2:10pm. It sat in the maple for a while then back to the swamp.
Oh great, a gull just took off with a piece of meat. There goes Mudhen after it. I was able to get some aerial shots of him anyways. Luckily Mudhen didn’t get anything.
2:50pm Ms. Smudge is back to chatter at her mate. Poor Mudhen he just sits with his head bent over like, “not again”!
Mudhen takes off again after a gull around 3:20. As soon as he headed out after the gull Ms. Smudge headed back into the swamp. She had had enough of her lazy man not getting anything for her to eat.
Well, Mudhen ended up sitting in a tree for the rest of the afternoon doing absolutely nothing!!!! The gulls were enjoying the meat as it was thawing in the 32 degree afternoon.
So we decided to call it a day and head home before the bad weather moves in. We are supposed to get freezing rain/snow over the next two days. YUCK!!!
Eagle Blind January 14, 2013
Well, Michael didn’t think we had enough snow to make it worth heading out but…before 8:00am I thought there definitely was. So we head to the eagle blind. The 5th year and a 2nd year were in the trees when we got there.
It is 22 degrees with lake effect snow and south/southwest wind. Yeah, it’s nice to have winter back!!
We have fifty plus starlings on the pile enjoying being the only ones there.
It doesn’t take too long and the ravens are back flying around the gulls start circling. 9:30am and the ravens to a flyby to check out the meat Michael put out this morning. They all land in the field…so that’s a good sign.
We have a dozen or more ravens on the ground and the gulls are just sitting in the field to the east of the blind.
9:55 and finally one gull moves in on the pile. It doesn’t take long for everything else to make its move.
10:00 and the 5th year is back!!! A raven takes off with a little piece of meat and we have black skies!!!
Forty plus ravens are now in the air. A 1st or 2nd year eagle flies back in followed by another eagle from the northeast!!
The ravens and gulls are back on the pile with the ravens in and out as usual. The 2nd year is chasing ravens then the ravens chase the 2nd year. It’s very comical to watch!!
Another eagle comes in about 10:20. We have a 1st year, 2nd year, 3rd year and 5th year!!!
Then we have a 4th year fly in from the east along with another 3rd year!! And its only 10:30!!
Yeah! I knew it was going to be a better day than yesterday!
The eagles fly in and out of the area…just enjoying the winter weather. It is really snow hard now.
The 2nd year is chasing ravens again. It then heads in the tree with the 5th year.
What fun…the ravens are chasing the gulls around…the ravens are then chasing the 2nd year. I love it when there’s this much activity.
One of the 3rd years does a flyby at 11:15. Another 3rd year and the 5th year fly by. A few minutes later the 2nd year is on the ground to the east of us. The 5th year came and chased it off. They both landed on the ground to the far west. The ravens are having fun with them on the ground. It’s snowing too hard for any decent shots.
The 2nd and 5th year tangle in the air! Sweet!! I think I got a good shot of the fight!
The 5th year heads for the trees followed by the 2nd year. The 5th comes down to the ground again then back to the trees. At least, there is lots of activity today!
It is snowing like a banshee now!! Of course, lots of action and too much snow to make for a crisp shot. Oh well, it’s totally fun any ways.
12:15 we have the 5th year fly by. The ravens are back along with the 2nd year that had flown off. One of the 3rd years takes off soaring but eventually showed back up. It landed in the tree with the 5th year…and action. Musical trees.
The 5th year finally chased off the 3rd year…but the second 3rd year lands on the ground. It eventually comes in to the pile and feed for over a half an hour!!! The 3rd year totally enjoys the meat ball. Feeding voraciously even after the 5th year eagle shows up.
The ravens hassle the 5th year till it flies over and intimidates the 3rd year. She finally heads back to the trees. The 5th year doesn’t come into eat it, too, just heads back to the trees. Bummer!!
2:00pm and the snow is easing up, of course, now that the action has ceased. The 5th year just sits in the tree contemplating what it wants to do.
Finally at 2:40 it flies by then back to the perching tree. All of a sudden it disappears….no it is on the old bone pile with a bunch of ravens. What’s up with that???
The sun is popping in and out around 3:00pm. I wish Mr. 5th would come in but he seems content just popping down and picking the old bones with his mates…the ravens. What a pain!!
The ravens chase a poor hawk which I think was a rough-legged…to the north over the swamp.
Seriously, Mr. 5th is driving me nuts…just pulling on the hide of a very old carcass. I guess he just isn’t hungry. But he sure doesn’t want anyone else to enjoy themselves either.
Well, the little starlings got smart and somehow got the last piece of stringed meat against the post and are diligently feeding on it.
A 1st year just flew in across the blue afternoon skies to the tree with the 5th year. Maybe something will happen now…..no luck!!!
As the sun sinks over the treetops we decide to head out leaving the 5th year on the bone pile and the 1st year in the tree.
It was a good day with two 1st years, one 2nd year, two 3rd years, 4th year and the 5th year.
Eagle Journal January 13, 2013
Well, we woke up to ¼” of ice on the truck this morning so we caught a few more winks before heading out.
On our way to Jim’s we spotted a mature bald eagle sitting in a tree on Deer Lake. When we got to the eagle blind it was 8:45am. There was one young eagle in the trees but it took off north.
Actually, it was a very quiet morning till after we got settled in. The critters don’t like the icy weather any more than we do. We heard a red-tailed hawk screeching to the east.
The ravens started coming in around 9:10am. A 5th year was in the trees by 9:20am. It was chattering and carrying on all morning.
We have 40 plus gulls on the ground to the east of the pile. I’m not sure why they aren’t coming in.
The ravens are moving in and out…as usual. Some of them do finally come in and actually eat! Usually they just harass the gulls.
The snow starts falling around 10:00…yeah!! It will be brighter with a little fresh snow on the ground. Sadly we lost all of the snow we had due to rain and 40 degree plus temps….in January!!!!
The ravens, crows and gulls are enjoying the fresh meat Jim put out last night. Poor guy, he came out after dark so nothing would come in before today. He was throwing the carcasses out when he slipped in the slime and bird poo….oooo….yuck! He said it was really wet, cold and gross! We are so blest to have him here. He is so diligent about making sure there is fresh food at all times for the eagles.
At 10:50am an adult rough-legged hawk drops on the ground with about 15 ravens. It doesn’t stay long and then headed south.
We have a mature fly in from the east to the big tree in the west. A few minutes later a 2nd year flies into the trees. But they all just sit in the trees and do nothing!!!
11:45am a 3rd year eagle comes in from the east. 11:50 we have musical trees. The mature knocks the 5th year off and follows it. One lands on the perching tree the other on the tree next to it. The 2nd year is hiding to the west and the 3rd year is in the big tree…for now.
The gulls flew off the pile and landed in the field to the east of us…two minutes later and they’re back.
It is starting to mist now…yuck!!! Where is the winter storm we were supposed to get??? Oh well, maybe tomorrow. If so, we’ll be back!!!
Great….our 3rd year flew off heading east then the 2nd year headed north over the swamp. Urrrggghhh!
I entertain myself ‘shooting’ a gull that is playing with the meat Jim hung off of one of the post. Smart little bugger! It would fly up and grab a bite…over and over and over.
1:15 the 3rd year is back in for another round of musical trees. It is a left banded Upper Peninsula bird! Fifteen minutes later the 5th year finally flies by!!! The 3rd year left heading west.
The 2nd year is back but has a tangle with the mature then heads west, too.
The 5th year eagle and mature play a game of tag for a while. A rough-legged hawk flies out of the trees and heads east. Bummer!!
2:15pm it is spitting a wet snow again as it gets darker and drearier. Ok, I turn my head and the mature left. So I have the 5th year and lots of screaming gulls.
And it’s back five minutes later to the perching tree. We have 2nd year fly by high in the sky and heads due east to the cedars.
Another 2nd year flies in and plays musical trees with the other eagles. I was able to get three of them in one shot. The 5th year eagle and mature end up chasing the 2nd year off to the east. They both land and perch themselves in the tops of a couple of cedar trees to the east.
3:25 they are both back to the trees but in the process spooked out a rough-legged hawk from one of the trees. Darn them anyways, they won’t even let a poor hawk in today.
Not a lot of action till our 5th year makes a landing in after 4:00. Unfortunately one of 2nd years flying in spooks it and then takes off. The 5th year goes back to the perching tree…and sits!!! It sits till we decide it is time to leave the blind for another day.
Eagle Journal January 6, 2013
We arrived at the blind at 6:00am with temperatures near 30 degrees and just a slight breeze out of the west. Thank goodness it’s not too cold because Michael forgot the buddy heater.
I hear the ravens and crows waking up in the swamp around 7:50am and have the first raven flyby about twenty minutes later. That’s a little later than usual for them. I almost always see them by 8:00am.
Our first visitor was not the feathered kind but a handsome, healthy male coyote. He warily came out of the woods to be harassed by the ravens. I’m sure he got wind of us and headed back the way he came from around 8:20am.
Our first eagle is in the trees by 8:25am. I think it’s a 5th year. The ravens and gulls are on the pile all ready.
Oh my gosh, I have a young red-tailed hawk on the pile!! It comes right up and gets on the meat right in front of the blind. How sweet is that?! I only wish it weren’t so darned dark out!!
Oh my gosh, now I have an adult red-tailed hawk land right behind the young one. The young one mantles it ‘prey’ as the adult looks on. The adult flies up and lands on the post but takes off. The young one eats for a while before it, too, finally leaves.
While the red-tail is on the pile four more eagles fly in!!! We have two 3rd year, 2 matures, and a 4 ½ year eagle. They are now flying…we have three on the ground. Now we have seven plus eagles flying around!!! I can keep track of what we have…they are going every which way!!
We had a mature, a 3rd and a 2nd year on the ground together but now just the 2nd year is sitting in the snow. Eagles are in every tree, they are in the maple…everywhere…and it’s only 8:45am!!
The other banded 2nd year comes down on the ground nearer the pile after the ravens chased its sibling away. These are the right legged banded ones we have had in before.
A mature eagle flies by then lands on the perching tree. Two more matures flyby. We have 20 plus gulls on the pile and the ravens are popping in and out!! What a great morning…just which it would lighten up a little.
Three eagles are in the air flying over the swamp. They make a circle and come back into the trees. The 2nd year lands on the perching tree with its sibling.
Two mature eagles chase each other flying southeast but circle back and land on the east tree. The mature eagles seem to be jockeying for positions. They keep knocking each other out of the trees. A 3rd year and two matures head east.
The young red-tailed hawk came flying in low to the pile. It is cautious especially with the ravens bother it and all the eagles that are still sitting in the trees. It doesn’t really take time to eat but flies off to the east. There are still seven eagles in the trees.
Oh no, a gull flies off with a hunk of meat…and chaos ensues!!! We have nine…that’s right…nine eagles in the air. Oh my gosh, oh my gosh, oh my gosh!!! It is totally awesome!!
We have musical trees for a while. Some of the eagles go back across the road but we have three in the east tree, two in the west, one on the perching tree and two in the maple tree. We have three 2nd years, one 1st year, one 3rd year, one 4 ½ year and three matures plus.
A mature flies by. Then Smudge is on the ground to the east. She lands on the ground in front of the blind where the gulls have drug out some meat. She didn’t take the meat but headed over across the road where two other mature eagles were sitting. That makes ten eagles…three across the road, one in the maple and six in the trees in front of us. We have four mature, one 4 ½ year, two 3rd year, two 2nd year and one 1st year. Sweet!!
We have a 5th year making several attempts at nabbing the meat that Smudge didn’t take. One of the 2nd years flies by at 10:30am.
A 3rd year flies by at 10:40am to check out the meat. We have a fight to see who get the meat in front of the trailer. Another mature comes in out of nowhere and nabs it!! We now are back to ten eagles again!!! They are chasing the mature with the meat.
So we have had four mature, one 5th year, two 4 ½ year, two 3rd year, three 2nd year and one 1st year. Wow what an amazing day!!
It is finally starting to lighten up a little but, of course, the action is probably coming to an end. Oh well, it has been fun!!
11:15am we have two eagle in the west tree and three eagles in the east tree. Dang! Another mature eagle comes in and nabs the last piece of meat that the gulls had dragged out in front of the blind. Oh well, now they will have to come into the pile if they want to eat anything.
The gloom settles back in and the eagles settle down…bummer. Around 12:30pm the snow starts to fall. One of the mature eagles flies over and knocks a 5th year out of its tree. Then the 5th year flies back and knocks the mature eagle out of its tree…and so it goes. Smudge sits in her throne and chatters off and on throughout the afternoon but…no one pays any attention to her.
2:00pm a little more movement…flying in and out of the swamp…circling and then landing back in the trees.
We have an adult rough-legged hawk show up briefly at the pile. It heads to the maple and…you guessed it…sits!!
Finally around 3:30pm we decide it’s time to head out. Of course, as we are heading out the sun peeks out from behind the dark clouds and four eagles fly over. Oh well, there is always next week.
Eagle Journal January 1, 2013 New Year’s Day
It is 18 degrees with a slight breeze out of the southwest along with a few snow flurries. What a great way to start the New Year!!
By 7:50am the ravens fly over to check out the pile. Wow! There are over 15 of them already! Hope that means a good day for eagles, too.
8:00am like clockwork the first eagle is into the trees. We have 10 ravens on the ground near the pile. They are all puffed up and glunk, gunking each other.
8:05am another eagle into the trees followed by a third chattering all the way. It could possibly be Smudge. We’ll see when it lights up a little more.
By 8:15am we have a 1st year on the pile then back on the ground farther out. Then a 4th eagle come into the perching tree! It is a 2nd year. So we have one 1st year, two 2nd years and a mature.
Big fluffy snowflakes are starting to fall making it very pretty but harder to see my subjects.
The ravens are being very entertaining…flying in unison…flipping on their backs then right side up again…to continue on their way.
One of the 2nd years flies by around 8:35am along with some gulls and ravens. One of the ravens came into the pile to harass the gulls. It actually takes the wing of one of the gulls and flies up still holding on to it.
One of the 2nd years flies off into the swamp. L I discover the chattering eagle is not Smudge but a 4 ½ year old. The 2nd year comes back to the tree line about 15 minutes later.
Then the 4 ½ year takes off heading west around 9:30am. The other eagles are doing absolutely nothing…but sitting!!
Oh great, now the 1st year takes off after the 4 ½ year followed by one of the 2nd years. Now all I have is one 2nd year eagle and a handful of gulls and starlings!
We get a little raven action around 10:15am on the pile but they fly off when I try to photograph them.
11:05am my 2nd year finally comes into the pile but just observes things before heading back to the perching tree. I was able to see that it is a Lower Peninsula bird…banded on the right leg.
The other 2nd year eagle is back to the tree to the west @11:00am. My 2nd year chased a gull with a piece of meat. It landed on the ground to the east of us. The other 2nd year decides to chase it into the swamp. The second 2nd year is also banded on the right leg. So they are probably siblings which will make it interesting to watch.
A few minutes later one of the 2nd year eagles comes back to the perching tree. There is a crow now having a little fun with the 2nd year on the perching tree. It hops up by it like it’s going to pull its tail then…flies back down farther on the tree. This goes on for about ten minutes before the crow gets bored with the whole thing.
The other 2nd year comes back to the trees from the swamp but heads across the road a few minutes later around 12:10pm.
I decide to boot up the computer to post some pics when I look out and find my 2nd year has disappeared!!! But the 4 ½ year is in the tall tree then it moves to the tree further west. The 2nd year decides to go visit the 4 ½ year. Then around 12:40pm the other 2nd year reappears.
Another eagle which looks like a 3rd year comes into the tree to the east. Now maybe we will get some action!!! We have a 1st year, a 2nd year, a 3rd year and a 4 ½ year in the trees.
We then have a bunch of ravens fly in for a few minutes then…gone!
Ok the 2nd year flies and knocks the 3rd year off…the 3rd year heads east tree. The 2nd year then goes and knocks the 4 ½ year off which goes and knocks the 3rd year off. The 4 ½ year goes into the tree with the 1st year eagle. The 3rd year heads into the west tree. The 2nd year is back into the west tree then the 4 ½ year disappears.
Now we have the 1st, 2nd and 3rd year all in the same tree. The 2nd year knocks the 3rd year off and it finally heads west never to be seen again.
1:30pm and we have an adult rough-legged hawk on the post for less than two seconds. Definitely it was not long enough to take a picture of it.
Ok, Momma Smudge finally comes in to the west tree around 1:50pm. The 4 ½ year lands on the perching tree then it’s on the ground to the east of us!!! Then it heads back to the trees. The 2nd year heads into the same tree. The 2nd year fights with the 4 ½ year as they head east then south.
The ravens are back playing games with the gulls trying to pull their tails. So, we have the 1st year, 2nd year and Smudge at 2:15pm. Then Smudge disappears. The first year finally decides to stretch its wings and just flies along the tree line then right back to its original spot.
The adult rough-legged is back but it is out on the old post farther out in the field where it sits for about twenty minutes. I keep an eye on it so I will be ready to ‘shoot’ it as it comes into the pile. But, of course, it lands out in the field in front of the trailer. So I peek through a gap in the board that blocks the window. It sits in the snow for about five minutes before coming into the pile landing on the post. I was able to get some decent shots of it before it took off again at 3:25pm.
The 4 ½ year eagle lands on the ground but only so far before Smudge decides to attack it chasing it off to the east.
The poor rough-legged hawk is waiting in the tree for the eagles to leave but…Smudge is making her presence known. She is not going to allow the rough-legged in to eat this afternoon.
The snow starts to pick up again making it almost impossible to see the eagles so we decide to head out after 4:00pm.
Eagle Journal December 25, 2012 Christmas Day
At 6:15am it is 23 degrees but feels milder because there is no wind. We have 20 + ravens by 7:50am flying around. A 2nd year eagle is in the trees, too! Another 1st year eagle comes in and lands on the perching tree. The ravens are busy on the ground bouncing up and down and all around. Looks like it’s going to be an active day!!
A mature flies in around 8:05am, two minutes later another eagle flies in. Now we have 25 + ravens on the ground having fun.
We have six eagles in the trees by 8:15am!!!!! Awesome!!!
A 2 ½ year old is on the ground at 8:30am along with a 1st year. They are still on the ground at 8:52am.
A 2nd year flies to the northwest. Now we have 2 1st years on the ground. The one chases the other one off. It walked around and then flew up on to the post!!! That’s only the second time in the last three years that one has landed on a post. And then it’s only been a 1st year that has done that. Usually it’s the hawks that like to land on the post before checking out the meat pile.
9:10am and the 1st year heads back to the trees while a couple of seagulls fly in. Smudge is in the trees chattering and carrying on.
We have musical trees…one of the mature eagles knocks out the 2 ½ year old which goes and knocks out the 1st year.
We have one mature, one 2 ½ year, one 2nd year and 3 1st years in the trees at 9:30am. One of the 1st years is back on the ground for a minute then to the trees.
The 2 ½ year old and 1st year are the only ones in the trees. Where did everyone else go???
A 2nd year flies by then lands on the perching tree at 9:45am. Then it lands on the ground with a bunch of ravens back near the old bone pile.
It is only 24 degrees but without any wind it makes it very pleasant. It has been slightly snowing all morning.
Now we have the mature back to the perching tree. Then all of a sudden we have five eagles on the ground!!!!! 2 matures, a 2 ½ year, a 2nd year and 2 1st years!!!
10:15 we now have seven eagles!!!! And the ravens are back, too.
10:20 an adult rough-legged hawk lands on the post for a few seconds then…gone!
The eagles are very active. The 2 ½ year is back on the ground. The mature that I’m sure is Smudge is stirring up trouble.
Major fight!! Mudhen was on the ground with its young when Smudge comes swooping in and flattens the young right on its back!!! Lots of talons and wings flapping and the snow is a flyin’!! It was totally awesome to watch!! Big Bad Momma Smudge had been trying to get someone to get a treat…so she could still it. J No one was co-operating so…ATTACK!! Talk about tough love. Wow!
11:00 the 2 ½ year is trying to get in to eat….the 1st year keeps attacking it. The 2 ½ year old finally just marches into the pile with such a look of determination. It spends almost forty minutes eating before heading back to the trees…a very happy and full eagle.
One of the mature flies in and out. We have five eagles in the trees. Then four of them are on the ground again. Oh, what a fun morning!!
Before noon some of the eagles fly to the west. The rough-legged hawk makes another appearance then gone.
The eagles are in and out of the area but we have a couple of them in the trees all the time.
We have the red-tailed hawk make another flyby. One of the mature and a 2nd year do a couple of flybys.
1:15pm the rough-legged hawk is on the ground again. It then took off and landed on the old post farther out in the field.
By 1:35pm we have Smudge and Mudhen, their one young and the 2 ½ year old in the trees.
We have a 5th year fly by then quiet by 2:30pm. The red-tailed hawk landed in a tree to the east and the eagles are just sitting.
Smudge and Mudhen are on the perching tree together.
3:00pm the rough-legged hawk is on the ground again. Smudge, Mudhen and their young are just sitting in the trees. Another mature comes in but doesn’t get to hang out to long before Mudhen chased it off.
The adult red-tailed made a quick on and off of the post. I was able to get a shot of its beautiful red tail but that was it.
We finally left the happy family at 4:00pm. It was definitely a very Merry Christmas!!!!
Eagle Journal December 9, 2012
It is 26 degrees at 6:00am with a haze over the moon. First raven in at 7:50am to the trees. A rough-legged hawk is in to the trees by 8:00am. The ravens fly over to check out the pile. Michael put out two meat balls before he left to go home to finish the bathroom remodel. They were squawking and carrying on. They chased off the rough-legged hawk that flew to the east to settle in a cedar.
A red-tailed hawk came into the trees moving to the west tree before resting. The gulls are in at 8:25am with a few starlings on the ground.
The rough-legged hawk landed on the ground for a few seconds at 8:30am. The red-tailed landed on the perching tree the rough-legged hawk ended up in the maple tree around 9:00am.
Then the rough-legged hawk landed on the meat around 9:20am then it was gone again.
Nothing going on but squawking gulls!! The red-tailed hawk has its back to me. NO EAGLES!!! I should have went downstate today instead of tomorrow. Tomorrow there will probably be lots of eagles!!! URGGGHHH! Oh well, what will be…will be. If I don’t see any eagles by noon, I’m out of here.
The red-tailed hawk did a flyby at 11:00 then headed east.
The gulls are spooked at 11:40? Then my first eagle of the day flies in at 11:45am! It is a 4 ½ year old. It flies by a couple of more times by 12:20pm. The red-tailed hawk is back at 12:30.
We have 1st year flyby at 12:40 then again at 12:50. The snow starts falling around 1:30pm.
Junior is sitting in the tree in front of me very well camouflaged. A few ravens are flying around playing and antagonizing the gulls.
The 1st year landed out farther where a raven was hassling a gull with some meat at 1:50pm. Then it took off and flew into the swamp! L
The gulls are finally starting to get the meatball pulled apart and taking off with hunks of meat. Hopefully, I will get some action now.
A mature eagle flies over but it is really high in the sky and just flies north to south without stopping.
The 1st year is back from the swamp around 2:30pm. The gulls took off with some meat and so did the 1st year. It landed on the ground to the west…twice. I don’t think it actually got anything.
It just keeps snowing harder and harder. At 3:30pm the 1st year flew over then…gone! Then all of a sudden it was back in the tree in front of me. I finally decided to call it quits at 4:00pm because I couldn’t even see the trees.
Eagle Blind December 2, 2012
It is a balmy 47 degrees at 6:15am when we get to the blind. It is very dark and dreary out and doesn’t lighten up till after 7:15am.
I hear a red-tailed hawk’s distinctive call around 7:40am so I know they are up and around. By 7:50am the crows making an appearance quickly followed by one, two ….no make that six eagles!!! Yeah!!! Looks like it is going to be an active day!
When it finally lightens up to see what is what…we have a 1st year, 2nd year, 3rd year, 4 ½ year and two mature eagles sitting in the trees! The gulls are circling around and landing to the east of the blind around 8:00am.
Yeah, we have the 1st year and 2nd year on the ground out in front of us!! Unfortunately, it is too dark to really get any good shots of them. Oh well, at least they are on the ground.
By 8:05am the gulls are on the pile with the eagles looking on hoping for the gulls to take off with something. Unfortunately for the eagles there are not any meat scraps for the gulls to fly off with.
At 8:40am an adult red-tailed hawk lands on the post but doesn’t stay long enough for Michael to get on it with his camera. I didn’t even try…knowing it would take off the minute I moved.
We finally have one big raven into the pile with about 40 gulls that are screaming and squabbling.
The 1st year does a flyby around 8:30 getting a better look at the treats that are available. Then the 2nd year chases it back to the trees. The 2nd year is bothering the 1st year probably trying to get it to go in to the pile to get something that it could then take away from the 1st year. I love to watch the pecking order that takes place amongst the different ages.
The 1st year is back on the ground around 9:05. The 2nd year tries to get it to move but…no luck…then back to the trees once again.
One of the mature eagles is chattering at the 1st year that looks like it may have found something to eat. There are now three ravens on the ground hassling the poor 1st year. I love watching the interaction between the eagles and the ravens. The ravens totally love to bother the eagles. They are so fearless with any of the birds of prey.
10:00am it looks like Smudge has left. The other mature which I think is Mudhen just knocked the 3rd year out of its tree but the 3rd year just circled back and landed in the same tree.
Mudhen then swooped down and landed on the ground briefly then back to the trees.
10:25am and we have six big ravens strutting amongst the gulls that are driving me crazy with all of their noise.
We have a little musical trees going on around 11:00am as the 2nd year and 1st year land in the tree with the 4 ½ year. Mudhen and the other 2nd year went to the east to sit in a tree. Then the 2nd year and 4 ½ year do a flyby. The 4 ½ year lands to the east on the ground. Then Mudhen flies in and lands but too far out for any photo ops.
The 4 ½ year is actually sitting on the ground just looking around. Hope it decides to come in to check out the treats.
One of the 2nd year flies by then gets chased by the 4 ½ year. The 4 ½ year lands on the perching tree while the 2nd year heads across the road to sit. It is now 11:30am. What fun!!
By 12:00 Mudhen and the 1st year are in the tall tree. The 4 ½ year old knocks the other 2nd year out of a tree. The 2nd year heads across the road with the other one.
Then all of a sudden we have four eagles in the air. Mudhen chasing the 4 ½ year and followed by the 1st and 2nd year. Then Mudhen lands in a tree along with the 1st year. The 4 ½ year lands in another tree and the 2nd year took off over the swamp. What a fun day…and it’s only 12:45pm.
1:35pm and there are now no eagles in the trees! Bummer!! But never fear they are back within ten minutes but nothing like before. The 2nd and 1st year seem to take turns hanging out. Mudhen does a flyby around 3:00 then gone. One of the 2nd year lands on the ground for a minute then back to the tree. The whole time the gulls never moved they just kept squawking and eating.
Finally we decided it was too dark for any chances at anything. So we left around 3:45pm with one 2nd year in the trees.
Hopefully, we get some better lighting next week. It is a real bummer to have eagles but bad lighting.
Eagle Journal November 26, 2012
It is a snowy morning as we arrive at our blind. The temperature is 27 degrees with a slight breeze at 6:15am.
Some ravens and crows quietly arrive in the trees around 7:30am followed by a rough-legged hawk. Two gull scouts fly over at 7:40am
By 8:00am we have ravens on the carrion pile. A gull briefly lands then takes right off. The ravens are on and off the pile…playing with each other…rolling in the snow. I love to watch and listen to them. They are so darn entertaining. The different sounds they can make always amaze me.
8:25am an adult red-tailed hawk lands on the pile but then quickly heads back to the trees followed by some rascally ravens.
Our rough-legged hawk is back in the tree to the east. The ravens left all of a sudden. Now is the time for the rough-leg to makes its move…but it doesn’t. L
8:45am a mature eagle flies in from the west and lands in a pine tree to the east of us. Then yet another mature flies by heading northeast. The one on the pine follows it. Bummer! I’m pretty sure it was Smudge and Mudhen.
Then quiet…the rough-leg headed over the swamp and the ravens completely disappeared.
At 9:30am two red-tailed hawks land in the big tree to the west! Yeah! Maybe we will get some action especially since the ravens are all gone.
But…no luck…the red-tailed hawks leave the area, too. Wow, it’s very depressing. There are 40+ gulls sitting on the ground to the east of us…not wanting to come in. 10:20am and it is really snowing now.
Finally at 10:45 the gulls make their move and, of course, the ravens and crows come back to join in the fun!
The ravens are really eating this time. Quite often they just play around but don’t actually eat anything.
They are playing, too, leap frog, bouncy over each other. They love to play ‘hand to hand’ combat in the air. They also love to play tag or catch me if you can. They love the snow!! They are always digging in it or rolling in it…just like kids do. Thank goodness I have them to keep me laughing!!
I am so excited the rough-legged hawk flew in from the east followed tightly by a raven which was shadowing it. I was able to capture it as it landed on the post then quickly headed back to the trees.
At 11:50 a red-tailed hawk did a fly by heading back to the trees once again shadowed by several ravens.
12:10 Smudge is back to the trees. She actually lands and stays for a while. Then Mudhen eventually heads in to the tree with Smudge.
By 1:05 they both leave! What a disappointment. We had hoped with the weather that they would come in and feed. Oh well, there is always next weekend.
At 1:30 one of the red-tailed hawks lands in a tree to the west. Still nothing in but squawking gull! There are at least 40 of them. So I work on the computer till my power is almost drained.
3:20 the rough-legged hawk is back temporarily then gone. We decide to call it a day. The snow is picking up and it has really gotten dark out.
I am happy with the few good shots I got of my roughy though. Till next weekend!
Eagle Journal November 11, 2012
The stars were out as we headed into our eagle blind at 6:15am. It is a balmy 55 degrees.
By 7:08 we had a rough-legged hawk fly into the big tree to the west. By 7:15am. the ravens arrived.
A juvenile eagle landed into the big tree and knocked the rough-leg into the maple tree at 7:25am.
A 2nd year eagle lands in a tree to the east around 7:35am. Yeah, the ravens are on the ground having a grand time. Some gulls are circling.
The ravens are now on the bones, eating and carrying on with each other. I love to watch their interaction with one another. There are at least twenty big ravens.
By7:50am a Smudge lands in a tree to the west then into the tree with the juvenile. By 8:00am we have gulls on the ground and ravens in the trees. The sun is trying to rise above the clouds to no avail.
Smudge is chattering at the juvenile to do something but it just sits tight. Gulls left one by one then five minutes later they are back. Then they move to the east end of the trailer.
By 8:40am the rough-legged hawk heads to the northwest. Bummer! I was hoping it would come in at least for a few minutes. Maybe it will return later in the day.
The juvenile is getting restless, popping around from branch to branch. Another eagle flies by heading east. The juvenile follows it. Bummer!
Smudge disappeared around 9:00am. Yet another mature comes from the east flying to the west and yet another flies by.
A 5th year lands in the tree in front of me. A different 2nd year comes in and knocks the 5th year off. They both do a fly by over the pile. The 5th year does a second fly by as the 2nd year goes to the big tree with Smudge. The 5th year ends up on the perching tree.
Then all of a sudden three more mature eagles come out of the swamp!! We have six eagles now!!
The 2nd year knocks the 5th year off the perching tree. We end up with two mature eagles, a 5th year and the 2nd year in the big tree as the first 2nd year is still in its tree to the east. One mature headed south.
The 2nd year took off out of the big tree to fly by the first 2nd year. It then landed on the perching tree. The first 2nd year took off soaring heading northeast. Smudge is chattering at them at 9:50am.
The second 2nd year has a band on its right leg noting a Lower Peninsula bird. At 10:00am we have one mature eagle, one 5th year eagle and one 2nd year eagle and it is 60 degrees!!
The 2nd year heads west. The gulls are all sitting on the ground to the southwest of us. A mature eagle flies over from the southeast to the northwest.
By 10:40am two mature eagles fly over. The 5th year eagle follows them to the east and they disappear. Smudge is the only one left but she disappears around 10:45. By 11:00 the sun is shining and there is nothing to shoot. L!!!!!
11:05am we have young red-tailed hawk fly over but it is being so hassled by the ravens that it doesn’t stick around.
We have a banded 5th year now in the tall tree and a banded juvenile at 11:15am!! Sweet!!
The 5th year makes several flybys for me!! Awesome!! The lighting was even great!!! It then landed on the perching tree. By 11:30 the 5th year and the juvenile fly around and eventually soar off to the north.
So now it is gob smack gorgeous and not a bird in sight!! It is 68 degrees!!! It is much too warm for the birds to really give a darn about eating right now.
Around 1:30pm we have a rough-legged hawk and a red-tailed hawk soar over but…they both headed back over the swamp to the north.
The clouds moved in around 2:15pm so that’s the end of the good lighting. But I guess if nothing else comes in it really doesn’t matter.
2:30pm there is a single crow on the ground. Rough-legged hawk is a tree at 2:40pm. Unfortunately, it soared off to the northeast.
3:05pm. we have rough-legged hawks soaring around. Hopefully, one of them stops and sees me.
Finally at 3:20pm a young rough-legged hawk is sitting in a tree.
3:45pm we are getting ready to leave when a 2nd year eagle flies into a tree in front of me.
Well, by 4:00 it is just sitting and preening so we decide to head out for the day. I did get some good shots of the 5th year but the weather was just too mild for much action.
Eagle Journal November 5, 2012
We arrived to the blind around 6:20am. Michael turned the wall heater on for me then headed back home to do lawn clean-ups. It is 30 degrees with a northeasterly wind.
I have crows and ravens talking around 7:08am. An eagle lands in the trees shortly after that. A crow is on the ground with gulls circling. The gulls come on the carcasses around 7:25am. An adult rough-legged hawk lands on the post for a brief minute. Then an adult red-tailed hawk shows up then takes off.
A 2nd year eagle comes in to the trees around 7:30 knocking the other eagle off. It goes into the maple tree to the west. Yeah! It looks to be a promising day.
It is so awesome to be back in the blind again out amongst the wildlife and basically unawares to them. Even the noise of the gulls squawking and fighting is music to my ears! ;)
I love to listen to the ravens and crows carrying on in the trees around me with their different vocalizations. I have one lone crow that is first to the pile enjoying itself immensely.
The gulls left at 8:00? Nope they are back in less than ten minutes. At 8:10 a mature eagle lands in the trees. The mature eagle chases off the 2nd year eagle. The rough-legged hawk is now in the maple tree.
At 8:45am Jim brings out five bags of loose meat. Everything flew off except, of course, the gulls who instantly attack the piles before Jim can even leave!
9:00am I have the adult rough-legged hawk on the ground then back to the trees. The red-tailed hawk lands on the post then back to the trees. Then an eagle flies into the trees in front of me chattering all the way. It must be our matriarch, Ms. Smudge. Sure enough it is Smudge. Mudhen won’t be far behind.
Two more eagles fly over at 9:40. The 5th year eagle does a flyby after the gulls started in a feeding frenzy. That seems to be when the eagles like to ‘attack’.
My rough-legged hawk flies by then disappears. Another flyby from the 5th year eagle before it heads back to the trees.
I find the rough-legged hawk is now In the maple tree to the west.
The ravens are moving in closer to the pile. Smudge takes off after a seagull that has a mouthful of meat. It, of course, drops the meat and the fun begins. Another eagle shows up to get in the action. That one turns out to be Mudhen. While the eagles are chasing each other back to the trees, the rough-legged hawk drops down to the pile but quickly takes off. That takes place between 10:10-10:20am.
Smudge is chattering in the tree when the 5th year tries to join her. Mudhen does his manly duty and chases the rascal off around 10:55am.
“Hail the conquering hero”, Mudhen returns but when Smudge won’t even let him in the same tree with her. What a witchy pooh.
The ravens are playing in the tall grasses as Smudge switches trees. The rough-legged hawk gets booted out of its tree and joins the red-tailed hawk who showed up to the east in a tree.
Smudge does a flyby!! The 5th year eagle is back and Smudge lets him in the same tree as she’s in. What’s up with that?
The 5th year does a flyby. Smudge goes and knocks the rough-legged and red-tailed hawks out of their tree so they move to a tree to the east.
The 5th year eagle ends up in the maple tree. Then we have a 2nd year eagle fly in followed by another one. The first one lands in the tree with Smudge. The 5th year heads over to join the girls. The other 2nd year lands in a pine tree at the edge of the swamp.
So now I have four eagles, a rough-legged hawk and a red-tailed hawk in the trees in front of me. Sweet!! It is almost noon.
Then all of a sudden the eagles take off. It is their typical M.O. They tend to disappear around noontime.
My rough-legged hawk lands on the ground in front of me but takes off before I can snap a photo. Bummer!!
The gulls are messing around flying off with pieces of meat. The rough-legged hawk flies out to the east to try to find some of the pieces they dropped. The ravens keep hassling the poor hawk.
Believe it or not five bags of meat that Jim brought out at 8:45 are now almost all gone at 1:15!!
There are a few pieces of huge tallow that the gulls are trying to cram down their throats…gross!!
The raven is chasing the gull with meat. The gull dropped the meat; the raven picks it up and gets the other ravens to chase it.
The one raven finally drops a piece of meat near the rough-legged hawk trying to engage it in a conflict.
The rough-leg does get tempted to try to get it but finally takes off. It is now around 2:00pm.
From out of nowhere one of the 2nd year eagles flies in and tries to nab some meat!! Dang!! It totally wasn’t expecting that to happen!! Then a 1st year eagle flies into the perching tree at 3:00pm!!
At 3:30pm a 3rd eagle comes flying in from the northeast right over the pile!!! Sweet!! I totally love the 3rd year’s plumage.
The 1st year does a flyby followed by the 3rd year again. The 3rd year finally nabs some meat and heads off to the east with it. The 1st year disappeared, too. So I decide it’s time to head out. As I start to close things up I spot the 1st year is back in the trees. She just sits and watches me as I head out.
It was a great first day in the eagle blind just wished the skies could have lightened just a little.
All Photographs Copyrighted by Michael & Teresa McGill/McGills Nature in Motion-Unauthorized use prohibited