Normal service restored!
It was a good day for eagle watching: good light in an overcast sky and lots of fresh fluffy snow. About 60 eagles showed up for the first feeding with over 80 making it to the 10:30. Photographers seemed happy.
We had some non-photographer visitors to the site, in particular a couple from Ontario who are visiting relatives in Sackville. Welcome to them!
Two more barns were cleared out today but also three or four barns should be receiving new chicks this week. I am running lower on stocks that I would like but have yet to pick up anything from the barns being cleared which usually produces a reasonable haul, so fingers crossed.
There will be two feedings tomorrow at 8:30 and 10:30 and again on Wednesday as I have some groups coming in. Thursday and Friday feedings to be advised.
A further day of disappointment for the photographers occasioned by stubborn eagles.
For the first feeding there were about 35 birds reported and some excellent photographic opportunities. Once more the wind direction dictated a vantage point on the stern side of the field along the row of evergreens. As there is a natural ridge in the field this means the the chickens are thrown out relatively close to the photographers and all expressed pleasure with the result, despite my feeling disappointed by the numbers.
For the second feeding I was encouraged to throw the chickens even closer and it didn't work except for the ravens who had the field pretty much to themselves. On the eastern side upwards of 35 birds could be seen in the trees, but there they remained except for the occasional flyby.
I had to leave for my usual chicken run and when I returned just after noon the last of the photographers was conceding defeat and leaving. I gave it an hour before returning to the field and as is usually the case the absence of humans resulted in a cleaning from the field of all the chicken.
This is not a good sign for the upcoming weekends and I am concerned for a good show for the big crowds.
There will be two feedings tomorrow at 8:30 and 10:30. Better luck next time.
Considering the number of eagles on site recently I found today disappointing. With the two days of cold weather I was expecting a larger number of eagles than the 35 we had for the first feeding and 60 for the second. We had a good turnout of photographers and they seemed quite happy with the show.
The contingent we usually get from Quebec has started to arrive and it is good to see old friends again. We also had a trio in from Truro for the day. I'm not sure the gang from Cornerbrook will be back so we said our good-byes today. Safe travelling to both groups and I hope you make it back again soon.
We are going with two feedings again tomorrow at 8:30 and 10:30. So far stocks are holding up and I am gearing up for the two big weekends ahead.
I hope the warmer temperatures tomorrow don't bring an end to the snow cover.
Sorry I missed yesterday's blog - the all but a handful of you that stayed away today were not affected. There were two brave men for the 9:00 am feeding. Initially there were half a dozen eagles and at least a score of crows and ravens. However, within fifteen minutes there were 30 eagles at the site and a very good display followed.
By the 11:00 am feeding the hardy Newfoundland ladies made it up from Metro where they were staying. Girls, I love the card and contents, you are very kind.
There was a sole eagle sitting in a tree across the road when I threw the chickens out and because I had a dental appointment I couldn't stay and see what developed. However, when I returned two hours later all the chicken was gone, so no doubt something happened.
It will be two feedings again tomorrow and Sunday with 8:30 and 10:30 being the times both days.
I saw the Canada Geese again today. I'm not sure why they are hanging around but hope it's not because they arrived early for spring. They should move south, but I'm sure the expression "silly goose" has a basis in fact! Maybe they're waiting for favourable winds.
It has been another successful day of eagle watching. The 8:30 feeding benefitted from a slight snowfall and fair light conditions. We saw about 60 eagles come down almost immediately.
The second feeding was even better as more snow had fallen. Wow! I counted 92 eagles on the ground, in the air and in the trees. There was a lot of action everywhere you looked.
Tomorrow we are expecting a visit from the Sackville Camera Club so I have moved the feedings to 9:00 am and 11:00 am to allow for travel time and better light.
If you have a group coming, let me know and I will try to tailor feedings to suit.
There were no new buckets of chicken today to replace what I threw out. I am expecting a group from Newfoundland on Friday so I have to decide between a single feeding or two small feedings. This will be confirmed in tomorrow's blog.
If you haven't done the survey yet, please ask me for a form.
Another good eagle watching day with 50 - 60 birds at the 8:30 feeding and 70+ at the 10:30. Crowds seem a bit smaller as we didn't make double figures for either feeding. As has mostly been the case the eagles came down within five minutes with the odd sneak attack while I was still distributing chicken.
We are conducting a photographers' survey this year - so if you see me with my clipboard don't be shy. We are trying to put package deals together for those staying more than a day and even trying to add an afternoon attraction for day trippers. Having some solid numbers will help us to attract partners for delivering these items.
Two very different sightings to report. The first was a flight of 5 red tailed hawks at the feeding site. They were "escorted" off the premises by a raven.
The second was toward Hillaton on Saxon Street where over 100 Canada geese were organizing themselves into flight formation.
I will go with two feedings again tomorrow but it is possible that I will have to revert to single feedings during the week in order to maintain adequate supplies for the weekends. Watch this space.
This is rapidly becoming an every other day blog! I can only blame the weather, which was horrible yesterday. The 8:30 feeding was attended by one hardy couple from Moncton visiting for a few days. There were perhaps a half a dozen eagles in the trees. I didn't wait for the feeding and neither did the Moncton couple as the ice pellets were flying directly into there lenses. However, when I returned an hour and a quarter later all the chicken was gone.
I was alone for the second feeding and only about a dozen eagles showed up.
Today was a slightly different story. The same Moncton couple were again the only audience for the first feeding but their perseverance was rewarded by a display from about 70 eagles. It was cold - -6 - but there was only a very light wind. The second feeding had only five visitors but again there were 70+ eagles who put on a superb show on the ground and in the air.
I forgot to mention the other day that we had a visitor at the site from Denmark who was in Halifax for a conference.
One of the couples today are from Kingston but newly moved from Ontario. They had only ever seen two eagles before, so today was a treat for them.
Same times tomorrow - 8:30 and 10:30. Two more barns get emptied tomorrow so I will be down to 6 producing barns and two of them are full of chicks not a week old. At least one barn comes back on stream later this week with 5 more taking deliveries in the next 2 weeks. I have a good supply on hand and I am optimistic that stocks will see us through the Eagle Watch weekends.
Sorry to have missed the blog yesterday; I got tied up with other things and in the end it slipped my mind. Both feedings were excellent with up to 70 eagles at the second.
Today was also good considering the conditions which had turned quite foggy by 10:30. There were roughly 45 and 60 eagles for the first and second feedings respectively.
As a rule I will feed at 8:30 and 10:30 unless I announce otherwise in the blog. This will apply to tomorrow as well. I have good stocks at the moment but also 8 empty barns which start to receive new chicks over the next two weeks.
I see that my update to the January 8th blog did not post, which explains why you didn't know what times I would feed today.
So let me start with the update of yesterday's blog. I returned to the site at about 10:30 and noticed that visibility was poor but improving and that there were 4 or 5 eagles I could spot in the trees. I decided to go on my chicken run and then return with some food. At about 11:20 I took down a bucket of medium sized chickens and cast them out in a semi circle about fifty feet from the southern end of the field.
Much to my surprise 20 - 25 eagles appeared within a couple of minutes and a very orderly and non-combative feeding took place. Fortunately there just about a piece of chicken for each eagle. Most of the food was taken on the wing though two eagles ate on the ground.
I went back again after 2:00 pm with four large chickens. By this time there were only two mature eagles around. When I checked back at 4:00 pm the only eagle there was immature and standing where I had thrown the second feeding of chicken,which had all been consumed.
Now on to today. The first feeding was at 8:30. It was minus 6 and the moderate westerly wind gusted to strong and made it feel very cold. I did not wait to see the action as I had press releases to prepare for the Eagle Watch event and wanted to check up on two barns which went to market the day before. I was told that there were about 60 eagles and they did not take long to come down.
The second feeding was at 10:30 and 60+ birds were present. The first food was taken on the wing while I was still throwing out chicken. It happened about 20 yards from me. The rest followed as I left the feeding ground.
Given the cold weather and the relatively little food put out the day before I decided to go fo a third feeding. This took place at about 12:20. Forty eagles remained and the food was taken up within 5 minutes of me leaving the field. Most action was on the ground.
With warmer weather and rain forecast tomorrow I will revert to two feedings at 8:30 and 10:30.
From the sublime to the ridiculous! If you haven't headed out don't start. I have been down to the site and near white-out conditions prevail. No eagles spotted and I have deferred the 8:30 feeding for the time being.
The forecast is not good: snow throughout the day. I will monitor and if visibility improves and the eagles return to the site I will feed later today. For locals, I will give some notice for those brave souls that want to venture out. For those from further afield I think it would be safer to scrub for today.