Sunday, March 12, 2023

Eagle Check

Gnarled gray fingers of the eastern hardwood forest
reach out over the water
basking in the late winter sun.

I started at Pilgrim Landing with plenty of sun and temperatures already in the 40's and little wind. This is an extensive tidal marsh, mostly fresh water with the lower brackish enough to grow barnacles on some of the submerged bedrock forming the shoreline. I am heading in, about as far as one can paddle, to check on an Eagle nest.

I flush an immature Bald Eagle when I am midway between the two nesting islands - a pair of small rock islands that usually host Canada Geese nests. There are pairs of Geese near each island, but it is still about a month too early for Geese to nest. From there, I cut across the channel and follow the western edge of the marsh. In the first loopy channel, there are a few Common Mergansers, eight Green Wing Teal, a dozen Black Ducks and about that many Canada Geese.
Green Wing Teal

It goes that way until I get to the Eagle nest - Black Ducks here and there, a few more Mergansers, a couple Mallards. The nest is not one to easily spot from a distance, but it is easy today. The white spot of an Eagle head marks it in the pine tree, even thought the Eagle is hunkered down low in the nest. It's a good sign and a good bet that the Eagle is sitting on eggs. This pair has hatched and fledged three Eaglets each year that I have observed them where one is normal and two is excellent for Bald Eagles.

I turn and begin my way out with a side trip back to the wooden bridge. 

Back at Pilgrim Landing, as I am taking out, D comes out of his house (he lives across from the put-in). We've met before, a few years ago, although he doesn't remember me. He comments about the wind and flood tide that I paddled against on my way out - from our previous chat, I know he is well in tune with the area. He hands me a fine glossy magazine, "Estuary," of which he is the publisher and editor. We have a little talk, and I tell him about the Eagle Nest. It's one of those "why I love Connecticut" moments.

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