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!
Happy Valentine's Day! We went with three feedings today, all successful.
The 8:30 feeding was cold at minus 14 with a bitter wind. Predictably the eagles didn't take long in coming down - roughly 50 of them. It was more a ground show than aerial. There were only two photographers and a single spectator. The photographers set up along the western side as has become usual when the wind is from the northwest. They got some great shots with eagles flying directly at them. Ground action was very close at about 50 feet.
By the second feeding the human numbers had swelled to about 20. A nice couple from Newfoundland were among them. It must make at least a dozen people from the Rock this year. The wind had died down by 10:30 and the sun had come out so that while it was still minus 13 it felt a lot warmer than 8:30. This feeding was split with some chicken thrown either side of the ploughed avenue. Stronger aerial action was a feature but there was still very good ground action.
The 12:30 feeding was always going to be dependent on the number of eagles still at the site. When I got there I could only count ten but one did a flyby of me before I even started to throw down the chicken, so I was persuaded to go ahead. There was another close range flyby as I threw out the chicken, so I was confident.
Yet they did not come down immediately. There were two or three eagles soaring high over the field and this seemed to open the floodgates as very quickly 50 eagles appeared providing excellent action in the air and on the ground. We were down to six humans, two of whom were the Newfoundlanders who stayed and were rewarded by a second show.
I'll follow the same procedure tomorrow: 8:30 and 10:30 feedings with a possible 12:30 if supported by eagle presence.
The little bit of snow added much to the day. We had two good sessions at 8:30 and 10:30. The earlier had about 50 eagles present and the 10:30 perhaps slightly less. Again to accommodate a north westerly wind the west side of the site underneath the conifers was the vantage point of choice. There was some delay in the second feeding - perhaps 10 minutes, but both sessions had good photo ops with eagles flying directly into the camera or closely across the field of view. There was also considerable ground action. We had visitors from St Catharines Ontario in the process of moving to N.S., so welcome to them.
I had not planned a late feeding because I thought I had got away with the clearance of a barn (two half barns, actually) without a glut of supply hitting me. But closer to midday I drove by and the dreaded tractor bucket was out again. While not as bad as last time it looked like 12 buckets would be needed to clear the backlog. At the same time I had another supplier with a full freezer needing me to take stock.
Faced with this I did a drive by of the feeding site and as there were 30+ eagles still in the trees I put out two more buckets which were taken quickly. Photographers didn't miss much as it was a fairly passive session, but it allowed me to empty a freezer and half empty the tractor bucket.
Viewing numbers are down this week. Perhaps the snow is discouraging metro travellers as those that have shown up have in the main been fairly local. I will feed twice again tomorrow at 8:30 and 10:30 with a remote possibility of a third feeding. I would prefer not to overfeed before the weekend.
It has been a very different kind of day. We had a beautiful snow fall overnight - not enough to be particularly hazardous on the roads but plenty to cover the grass. It was mild but with a brisk westerly wind making it a bit chilly.
The 8:30 feeding was a command performance for Murray as the only photographer to make it to the site, equaling the lowest turnout on a non-storm day.. He got a very good show with approximately 70 eagles in attendance. They came down quickly... within 5 minutes. The aerial display was no better than average but there was some very good ground action.
We had three photographers for the 10:30 session. This one had only 50 eagles - another oddity as the numbers for the second feeding usually exceed the first. It was a good show both in the air and on the ground.
As it was gone 11:00 before the second feeding concluded I pushed the third feeding back to 12:30.
I was a bit apprehensive when I arrived because the number of eagles visible had shrunk to about a dozen. I decided to put out only 2 of the 3 buckets I brought: one of large stuff and one of small.
The crows and ravens came quickly and were by and large allowed to tuck in. There was an occasional attempt by the eagles to disperse them,. but nothing sustained. There were flybys and an occasional eagle on the ground but well to the fringes. On one or two occasions a small chicken was taken on the wing but no eagle came to the ground to feed. Gradually the visible count rose to about 20 - the smallest so far this year.
There were some spectacular soaring patterns with seven or eight eagles engaging. One juvenile with exquisite under wing markings maintained some interest. The light and cloud had been a feature all day: the contrast between skulking dark clouds and periods of sunshine providing excellent photographic conditions. It was a shame that eagles were reluctant.
After an hour I left on my chicken run. I returned about 40 minutes later and there had been no further substantive action. As it was now gone 2:00 pm and there was no sign that the eagles were interested in feeding I reluctantly picked up the chicken - the first time I have had to do that this year.
I will feed at 8:30 and 10:30 tomorrow and will judge a third feeding on the day. These seem more for my convenience that the eagles' of late so I will need growing numbers or some other evidence to opt for a third feeding tomorrow. We are expecting more snow (good) but mild temperatures (bad), so time will tell.
Beware the three feeding day! Three feedings yesterday and milder weather brought a long delay on the second feeding today.
The first feeding went well with about 65 eagles counted and a prompt start to the action, which provided good aerial and excellent ground displays. However, there was a forty-five minute wait for the eagles to come down for the second feeding. I had departed to do some errands and by the time I returned the action was over. I didn't get a count and can't comment on the quality of the display.
On the strength of that I cancelled the third feeding at noon. I did, however, return at 2:00 pm and threw out a single bucket of small to medium chickens - more to empty the bucket that fill the eagles. I counted about a dozen at the time but there were more in the trees when I returned. What I saw was mostly aerial - to be expected given the size of chicken I threw out.
We are supposed to get snow overnight. I can confirm the 8:30 and 10:30 feedings and have reserved stock for a possible third feeding, which will depend on demand from above (in the trees).
The sun went away and milder weather moved in after a cold night but the eagle numbers held up and exceeded recent days.
The 8:30 feeding prompted an immediate response and the pattern of excellent aerial activity followed by some intense action of the ground continued. I counted 55 eagles.
By 10:30 the number of eagles waiting in the trees was up to 78 according to a photographer who used her telephoto lens to count the birds in the trees while awaiting my arrival for the second feeding.
The pattern was the same as the first feeding only more intense as the additional numbers would anticipate. Given the glut of chicken I have currently and the number of eagles I offered a third feeding at noon which was readily accepted by the photographers.
The aerial activity was not so intense but the ground activity remained very robust. Later on there were several in-air duels for chicken being transported toward the trees. I had expected to wait a long time but after 5 - 10 minutes it all kicked off. A very successful day of three feedings.
I am planning the same tomorrow: 8:30 and 10:30 for sure with a noon feeding subject to eagle numbers and appetite.