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.