Two very different sessions made up an interesting day. The early session had brilliant sunshine and little wind which made it feel warm. The snow and freezing rain overnight coated the ground with a white crust which was attractive.
Initially I counted over a dozen eagles in the trees and an aerial response began quickly. This brought in more eagles from the surrounding area and by the end of the show we had 60 eagles at the site, the largest count for some time. At one point there were 29 eagles counted on the ground.
By the time of the second feeding it was all change. The 60 eagles at the first session were down to 6, the air temperature had risen and with the sun the snowy crust rapidly deteriorated into mud underfoot. There was absolutely no action on me leaving the field.
I waited about half an hour then went off to complete my circuit of the barns. When I returned about half an hour later things were just beginning to stir. Initially most of the action was in the air, including some very high soaring over the site. This brought in a flow of incomers and by the end of the session numbers had built to 25 -30 eagles. The session was a long time starting but also lasted a long time. The aerial display was very good throughout and there was good ground action, though not on the scale of the earlier feeding.
There was no appearance of Redneck today. Maybe tomorrow! Feedings will be at 9:30 and 11:30.
The colder weather brought an increase in eagles and a decrease in humans with only two spectators at each of the two feedings today.
The early feeding started again with the usual half dozen stalwart eagles in waiting. Again there was a brief aerial display which started within five minutes followed quickly by ground action. Numbers built quickly and in the end I counted 35 - 40 eagles.
Redneck put in another brief appearance. Today I had my binoculars with me and from one angle it definitely looked like Redneck wore a tracking collar, but this was not confirmed by other angles. My lenses don't have the magnifying power to determine the issue once and for all so in the interim I am bowing to yesterday's finding of an injury.
It was 11:30 before i finished the second feeding which drew an immediate aerial response. The sitting numbers had doubled to about a dozen. Action was slow to develop with one or two eagles on the ground and several more circling above, but the numbers grew steadily. By the end I counted 40 - 45 and the second show was better both aerially and on the ground.
More cold is forecast for tonight and tomorrow so I will continue with 9:30 and 11:30 feedings.
Well it turned out to be a poor weekend for eagle watching as today followed a similar pattern to yesterday in terms of eagle numbers and the level of activity.
At the morning feeding I counted 6 eagles as I drove on to the field. It started slowly with very little activity for the first 5 minutes at which point the aerial display began. Numbers eventually grew to about 20, but it was a slow climb. When eagles did take to the ground there was a relatively tame show.
One of our visitors showed up at 8:15 thinking the first feeding was 8:30. He didn't see many eagles but did spot Redneck the coyote sniffing around the main feeding area. He/she returned later in the first feeding, again entering from the northeast corner. This time there was a double back once about half way down the field but then there was a traverse across the field until Redneck disappeared behind the central slope line int he field.
Between feedings, one of our regular photographers managed to get closer to Redneck and using her telephoto lens determined that the red around the neck is an injury and not a tracking collar. The surmise is that the injury was incurred while escaping from a snare. This bears watching but at present there is no obvious sign that the animal is in distress.
Meanwhile back at eagle watch it was the eagles that did most of the watching. It was a prolonged period of little activity, although there were periods of excellent flying. After about 45 minutes this turned into a demonstration of taking food in flight. After about an hour there was a count of about 30. The action on the ground was not without interest but there was very little aggression.
I have come to the conclusion that they are overfed and as a result I will reduce the amount of chicken I throw out from 6 buckets to 5 per day. For now I'll stick with 2 feedings at 9:30 and 11:30, though if the activity level does not improve I will consider dropping back to a single feeding.
Oops! I posted the first feeding time as 8:30 instead of 9:30 in yesterday's blog. If anyone showed up at 8:30 and lost heart you have my profound apologies.
We had a come down today as neither feeding lived up to the examples set in the last three days. I could only spot about 6 eagles in the trees when I arrived for the 9:30 session and thus held back a bucket putting out only three. After 5 - 10 minutes we got a bit of aerial action and then the eagles took to the ground. Action was tame compared to recent days and by the end we had 20 - 25 eagles on and around the site.
When I returned for the 11:30 I didn't even see 6 eagles in the trees. I put out three buckets again plus a handful of the really small stuff. It took about forty minutes to generate any ground action. In the interim there was some majestic high flying and some lessons in how to soar on the wind. Wind we had a plenty and it made taking food on the wing difficult as was landing in the trees with a chicken held in one set of talons. In the end I counted about 18 eagles, so overall a poor showing. Longest distance visitor was from Fredericton and will be with us for a couple of days. Better luck tomorrow!
On a lighter note I've decided to name our coyote "Redneck". Redneck didn't put in an appearance today, so a washout on all scores.
9:30 and 11:30 will be the feeding times tomorrow.
Post Script: It was very mucky on site today, so boots rather than shoes are recommended. Most of the ice has gone but there are still some patches. It's supposed to be colder overnight and tomorrow which may firm up the ground, but better to come prepared.
Well, this was certainly no unlucky Friday the thirteenth! We had two highly successful sessions again today with everything "as advertised" in yesterday's blog.
The 9:30 session actually got off to a shaky start as there was no action at all when I left the field, unlike the preceding days. However, after about five minutes the aerial display began and built quite quickly to eagles taking to the ground and beginning a strong ground display. I "took five" to visit with a neighbour who was walking her dog (the dog adores me and I can't resist a visit), but while I was enjoying my visit our friendly coyote was spotted on the field. This time it was on the eastern side of the field along the woods.
We had visitors from Cape Breton, Metro and Mahone Bay, so I am delighted that the the show, with 35 eagles and a coyote lived up to billing.
Even as I drove onto the field for the second feeding it was apparent that the eagle numbers had grown from the first session. The metro pair, who returned for this feeding, counted over 50 but I am more conservative at 45. The aerial display started before I left the field as a mature eagle flew twice around me, but I wasn't able to coax it down.
The balance of the eagles took to the air quickly once I left the field and we had a very good display. This continued on the ground with an extended feeding period marked by several squabbles. About half way through this the coyote appeared at the northeastern corner of the field and made its way down the eastern side until it disappeared into the woods about half way down.
Its gait was light and easy and if it has been a victim of a snare it showed no signs of distress. We will need a longer lens siting and photograph to confirm its status.
Another good day and the plan now is for two feedings (8:30 and 11:30) for the weekend. Only three weekends left for the season so get out one more time if you can!
It was another interesting day, mild but with a bite still in the wind. The 9:30 feeding went off as planned with four buckets being fed. The action began as I left the field with eagles going straight to the ground to feed. There were numerous eagles - I counted about 50 - so there was a decent flying display but the main action was on the ground.
We also received a tremendous bonus as a coyote appeared on the flats in front of the trees along Bains Road. He/she darted into the woods a couple of times but emerged to take a chicken dropped by an eagle. He/she then moved into the field before being frightened off by a car starting.
Some good photos were taken which show a ring around the neck reminiscent of dried blood. Could this animal have been caught in a snare? In any event I know that some people like to walk down the tree lines and into the woods searching for eagle feathers. I urge you not to do this alone now that the coyote presence has been confirmed.
Buoyed by the first feeding I returned for a second at about 11:20. The available chicken was of a smaller variety so most of the action was in the air and the taking of food on the wing. There was a small ground display but nothing like the earlier session.
We had visitors - two footed this time! Two gentlemen from Quebec City added us to their itinerary for a trip to PEI and a lady from Alabama has moved to the area recently so she still carries the 'bama plates on her car. Also present were member of a home schooling group who plan a bigger visit at the end of the month.
We're going with the same 9:30 and 11:30ish times tomorrow. Be early for the second if you can.
Abandoned! For the first time this season, apart from storm days, there were no spectators at the site. There weren't that many eagles to start with either, perhaps a dozen in the trees. I took the opportunity to experiment, throwing out only three buckets planning to return for a later feeding.
The aerial action at 9:30 started right away and the dozen were soon joined by new arrivals until their were over 40 eagles at the site. There was moderate ground action but the aerial display was very good.
I returned at about 11:15 to find one eagle in the trees across the road and two soaring high above the field. I duly threw out two buckets of chicken and the two aerial eagles soon became four then six then ten. Once a couple took the ground I decided to take back the empty buckets and return to ensure the food was taken up.
When I arrived back about 20 minutes later the food was all gone. There were about 20 birds sitting in the trees. Three spectators had arrived and had caught the end of the show, more by luck than design. One of these was a visitor from Hamilton, Ontario who also has a property in Paradise. They enjoyed the show and reported seeing 50 eagles - in my view an exaggeration perhaps inclusive of ravens.
I don't know what effect, if any, the second feeding will have on demand tomorrow. However, I will will do a second feeding if uptake is good for the first and if there are eagles in evidence for the second. The first feeding will be at 9:30 with the second penciled in for 11:30
We had another successful day with the single 9:30 feeding. There were 3 spectators, all of whom have been regulars throughout the season.
Action began with an aerial display as I left the field but very quickly there were three eagles down on the ground and from then on ground action dominated the display. Putting out a fourth bucket of food has extended the sessions and today's lasted over half an hour and I counted 45 eagles. Some of the ground action was quite intense. We also had a flyover of about 50 Canada geese.
Once again I am not going to fix something that's not broken so it will be one 9:30 feeding tomorrow and Thursday. The weather is turning warmer again which will be a test of this latest feeding routine, so watch this space for any changes.