After a shaky start it was another successful day of eagle watching.
The 8:30 feeding elicited 2 flybys and no other action. Thinking that all of the chicken fed was large I returned to base to pick up some small chicken that could be taken on the wing. I came back with barely a quarter bucket, but it did the trick. Once two eagles flew down to take some on the wing the trees emptied and what followed was one of the most spectacular aerial displays this year. It took a little while for the eagles to come to ground but a good display followed. I counted over 70 eagles.
The late start to the 8:30 feeding made me apprehensive about the 10:30 feeding which was nonetheless on time. This time there was a better mix of medium and small chickens with just a few big ones. The aerial started almost immediately and was very good. Again, I counted about 70 eagles - one of the spectators counted over eighty but admitted that there were probably ravens included in that count.
After another good aerial display the ground action seemed rather tame until the very end when things hotted up considerably. The main focus was a large but immature eagle surrounded by 5 adults and several ravens. Time and again the juvenile fought off the older attackers and on two occasions swatted a raven away with its wing.
All the while the juvenile was gulping down bites of chicken and when that was reduced to transportable size made a beeline for the trees. The adults gave chase, one theatrically swooping nearly upside down to tear the chicken morsel from the talons of the juvenile. Perhaps it was a bit of a shame for the juvenile, but not before a decent feast and an heroic effort.
We are on again tomorrow and Thursday for 8:30 and 10:30.
We continue to have good luck with the new feeding strategy.
It was overcast with some distant fog for the 8:30 feeding. A good flyby started immediately on my leaving the field and the eagles - about 40 of them - hurried to pick up the small chickens thrown out. They were soon down on the ground to tackle the bigger stuff. Overall this was a good showing.
By 10:30 were were bathed in sunlight and warmer temperatures. It was somewhat against expectation that the aerial display started almost immediately and built quickly. We had about 50 eagles at the site for this feeding. The display on the ground was quite spectacular with many spats and contests over the food. This was an excellent show which lasted about half an hour.
Once again we entertained a visitor from Ontario. Glad you were able to include us in your itinerary!
Given the success of the past two days I am committing to two feedings at 8:30 and 10:30 for Tuesday and Wednesday. These will be warm days so there is no guarantee of activity but you won't freeze your toes off waiting!
Snow is in the forecast for Thursday so we will extend the current two feedings to then.
Finally, the plan is to keep the feedings going until the final weekend of March 28th and 29th. I will then use the following five days to wean off the eagles to a single feeding a day. The final day under this strategy will be Friday April 3rd..
I missed yesterday's posting. The results yesterday were in keeping with the rest of the week. A reasonable early feeding followed by a lengthy delay for the second. Numbers were down on what has become our average.
Today was different. Cold temperatures for the second day running no doubt helped. Action was almost immediate for the first feeding as 50- 60 eagles were at the site. A good aerial display kicked things off followed by a very good session of ground action. The eagles were hungry and the frenzy only lasted about 15 minutes before the food was gone.
I awaited the second feeding with interest as a good second show would be against the trend of the week and be a positive influence on the future feeding pattern. And so it was! We had an excellent second showing with about 70 eagles in attendance. Again a good aerial display opened proceedings with an excellent ground show following. Also, the action lasted closer to half an hour.
So for Saturday and Sunday my plan is to cut back the early feeding from 3 buckets to 2 and follow up with 3 buckets for the second feeding. Feeding times will be the usual 8:30 and 10:30. We are expecting warmer temperatures so the lighter feeding may keep appetites keen. If this works I will keep the pattern going next week. If not I may well switch to a single feeding of 4 buckets at about 9:30. I will try to give 48 hours notice of this before putting it into effect.
There are news items to report. We had a visitor from Saskatchewan today, staying with his son in Metro. Welcome to him!
For those who took part in our survey this year, many thanks. The data collected is proving very interesting. The winner of the prize draw is Tim Whynott of Annapolis County. Congratulations, Tim!
Finally, many thanks to all those who have thus far contributed in the donations box. Special thanks to Melanie and Mat for their message.
It was another disappointing day. The 8:30 feeding had a fairly prompt start with only a 5 minute wait, but the numbers were low at 30 - 35 eagles. There was not a great deal of aerial action but some good activity on the ground.
The recent pattern of long delays for the second feeding continued. After half an hour I left on a chicken run, returning half an hour later to find that the eagles still had not come down. It was about 2:00 pm by the time I got back and by that time the show was over. There were still a few eagles around and I had counted about 20 before I left on my errands. I can't comment on the quality of the show.
We had several people in from Bridgewater and two from Moncton as well as the returning folks from Quebec City.
I will go with the regular 8:30 and 10:30 feedings through to Saturday as the forecast is for colder temperatures. It being the weekend I will probably do the same for Sunday but I am already thinking of a single feeding for next week and contemplating what time to choose. At the moment 9:30 is the front runner. Feel free to comment on these plans as I will take your views into account.
It was another cold start at minus 12 and I had expected more eagles than turned up. In fairness there were about 40 and at least that many at another site a mile or so away.
We had about a dozen people on site with two from Moncton and two from Quebec City. Welcome to all. The first feeding got off to a slow start with the eagles taking 5 - 10 minutes to come down and a fairly tame aerial display at first. However, there was good action once they came to ground.
A similar delay greeted the second feeding at 10:30 but I think both the ground and aerial displays were better the second time around. The ground action was particularly hectic. There were lots of eagles in the trees and I estimate 50+ eagles for the second feeding.
I am not going for a third feeding this week unless we get a particularly long and deep cold snap. I think the eagles have been well fed and I think that this has reduced their appetite. So,it will be 8:30 and 10:30 tomorrow. If you're from out of province please let me know as I'd like to thank you personally for taking the trouble to visit us!
This was a day of fog and failure. We had dense fog at 8:30 am - so dense that we couldn't see the trees on either side of the field initially. Soon the sun got to work and by 9:00 visibility was much better and the distant fog added atmosphere. The eagles - about 50 of them - came down at about 9:10 and there was a decent aerial show and an excellent ground show for about 15 to 20 spectators. Because the feeding was late in getting started I deferred the 10:30 feeding for a quarter of an hour.
By 10:30 we had a glorious day with plenty of sunshine and some fleecy clouds. It was warm - above zero and climbing slowly. With some trepidation I put the chicken out at about 10:45. The number of spectators had grown to over 70 while someone counted 58 eagles. The warmer weather, number of spectators and the lateness of the first feeding conspired to keep the eagles in the trees. There were several false starts with some excellent aerials from 5 or six eagles and on a number of occasions we got two eagles on the ground. But while they moved the chicken around they didn't really start eating and each false start fizzled out.
Stalling for time I went on my chicken run, then went to lunch but when I returned at about 1:40 the feed had been out for three hours. The number of spectators and eagles had shrunk to about a dozen and it was clear that there wasn't going to be any glorious last minute show. Sadly, I picked up the chicken.
I am particularly sorry for those that drove some distance today - many from the Metro area and at least one NB license plate. Better luck next time.
We'll try again tomorrow at 8:30 and 10:30.
As the sharpest among you will have noticed the previous Feb 16 blog should have been recorded as Feb 15. My how time flies when you don't get a Valentine's Day card lol,
On to today. For the first time that I can remember there was a long delay in the action kicking off for the early feeding. Normally the eagles come down within 5 minutes. I can't even blame it on a large crowd as there were few spectators. Whatever the reason, it took about an hour for the eagles to take the bait. Once it got going there were about 60 eagles and the display was good both in the air and on the ground.
As the feeding didn't finish until roughly 10:15 I toyed with the idea of delaying the 10:30 feeding. In the end I decided to throw out the chicken and skip the 12:30 feeding. As expected there was a delay but only about half an hour. The numbers held up and there was a particularly good ground display.
Warmer weather is expected overnight and tomorrow so I will go for the usual 8:30 and 10:30 feedings with a 12:30 possible but at the moment doubtful.
This one should be known as The Big Chill or Better Late Than Never.
It was minus 21 degrees when I started out and needless to say the car wouldn't start. No problem, I called a neighbour with a portable re-charger and he agreed to oblige. Problem: the hood release mechanism was also frozen and I couldn't get to the battery.
Right on cue my friend Mike drove by and offered to be a chauffeur for the chickens and me for the day, so we were off and running.
There was no great delay in the eagles deciding to dine at the 8:30 session and the surprisingly large turnout was pleased with the display. It was mainly a ground display as they wasted no time in tucking in. I counted about 50 eagles.
It was a similar story for the 10:30 feeding, though it took about five minutes for the action to kick off. I counted about 60 birds.
We had a number of visitors from afar. The Millers from Utah were there and as they are in Nova Scotia for a while hope to return with their son. I also met a nice lady from Lockport who had two "daughters" with her. These were international students from Italy and Columbia respectively.
Couples from Moncton and PEI also drove down for the day - the Moncton couple leaving at 4:00 a.m. to arrive in time for the 8:30 feeding.
With so much success in the first two feedings I probably should have left well enough alone but as I had reserved buckets for a late feeding I suggested a return at 12:30 to feed again subject to eagles still being around. This I did and as there were perhaps 20 eagles still in the trees I proceeded with the feeding.
By 1:15 these hadn't been so much as a flyby so I left to get my car started. I returned about half an hour later and there was still no progress. I suggested calling it a day and picking up the chicken but this was met with near rebellion. So I decided to go to put gas in the car and check the barns for new chickens. Before I drove off there was a promising aerial display of four or five birds but after several feints they returned to the trees and I went on my way.
I returned at about 2:20 and still there was no progress and still the spectators wanted to hang in. They were rewarded when the action started shortly after 2:30. Once it began, eagles were flying in from every direction - in the end I counted 80 birds and the display was one of the best this year. All things come to them that wait!