Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Day 147, Tuesday, 6/3/08, Year Four Dancer & Daedee: Snow Falling on Eagles

Hello Eagle Friends,

We're just in from the valley and happy to report that there are fawns, fawns, and more fawns. Fawns nuzzling their mom, fawns nudging their mom to be fed, fawns being groomed by their moms. It was a cool 61 degrees while we were down in the valley this afternoon.

Luckily, we didn't encounter any rain while out, other than a light sprinkling a couple times, nothing that really was more than a sip to a leafhopper.

We started at nest 1 today. Daniels Charlie was up on the nest when we arrived. We were only there about a half hour when Daedee flew in with a small fish, but fish is food and two hungry eaglets don't think about size, only what they can swallow in one bite.

As was the case with D'ODEE stealing the fish and gobbling it down in one gulp as
Daedee watched him, not even trying to take it away. There was something else stirring
in the grasses. Something grunting, and at first I thought it was a bear, but as I stood up I saw a beige colored animal that was now to the north of us and had circled us that entire half hour.

I pulled out my bear mace for the first time this year and shot it in the direction of the animal. Something I would not of done had the animal not come in so close. It pumped about a 20 foot stream and I heard the animal rustling into the gully and then we watched all the birds fly out of the bushes, and that's when we packed to go.

A sheriff friend in the valley there told me there was a cougar in the area, and that is just not something I want to tangle with. I wanted to believe it was a deer, but I saw the animal and it was too small to be a doe and too big to be a fawn. That means it could only be coyotes, cougars, or an unidentified, tan animal that grunts.

We met a deer at the White Wolf post leaping up on our the hike out, but she was too far ahead of us to be the animal in the gully. Birds don't all fly out of an area when a deer walks in, but they do when a fox, or coyote, or a big dog or an unidentified tan animals comes in.

I kept wondering if that was the animal that ate those poor robins? I'll be bringing my top field dog, Dale, with me tomorrow. He will protect me. I wouldn't
even worry too much about it, but that animal literally followed us in.

We heard rustling and soft noises only 3-4 minutes after we arrived and throughout the time we were there it semi-circled us, finally closing the circle, drawing closer just as Daedee brought in that fish.

Em won't be able to come with until I find out what kind of animal is out there, and what it is doing. I really wanted to believe it was just a deer leaning down, but in my heart of hearts, I knew it wasn't. Too wide, too short, too inquisitive.

We moved on to nest 2 and 58 day old Terry Gail was up on the nest walking around calling out to her parents. Then she did something that I knew signaled the beginning of the departure from the nest.

She walked all the way over to the very last stick on the edge of the nest, this is where her mother sits and I'm sure will lead her off the nest when her time comes.
Terry Gail leaned down and dropped her head so low I thought she'd fall head over tail and be airborne.

She didn't fall out. She then walked to the center of the nest where her dad sits, The Mayor. She stretched her neck up looking at the perch hanging over the nest. She left no doubt in my mind that she was thinking about ways to reach these other perches.

She could fledge as early as next week. She probably won't, but she could. I can hardly believe we are so far into the season with the eagles already. The hardest
work begins once they fledge, so I'm trying to gear up for that time.

We moved on to nest 6 and didn't find anything going on there so we left.

Up the road I found Dick the nest 6 male sitting in a short tree over a small stream
fishing for a meal for his eaglets, and I'm sure a few bites for himself. The nest 6 eagles are big eagles. They are at least 6 inches bigger than Daedee and Dancer.

At nest 5 it was quiet too.

I didn't find any snappers in the road today, and that hole was filled in by cars and big trucks running over it all day. At least the one turtle who was trying to lay her eggs in the road, under the road, didn't become a pot hole filler, which is probably what would have happened had I left her there last night.

At nest 3 I found Victory Bell in the shadows of the nest. It was almost dark when we arrived. Nest 4 is blocked by foliage now, as you that have been reading know, but I still look around for the eagles to see where they are in their nest area.

I didn't find them today. However I did find an entire marsh filled with blooming water lotus and I was moved by their beauty. Things change so fast in the valley that missing one day, I could have missed an entire marsh with white delicate flowers dancing across the lily pads.

It was 8 years ago today I lost my father and when I stared into the marsh and into those blossoms, somehow their sudden appearance connected me to my dad and gave me
the peace I sought today.

As we traveled back we found deer everywhere. Suddenly there were two does standing over a stream so I paused to photograph them, and got several shots before they picked up our scent and fled.

By nest 1 this beautiful doe was standing frozen along the edge of the woods. She never even flinched as I snapped off a few shots.

As we drove to the edge of the valley I saw a young fawn prancing around and then running up to its mom trying to nurse. The doe kept stepping over the young fawn, never giving it a chance to nurse.

She was busy feeding on the edge of the woods and where ever she walked the little fawn hopped, leapt, and turned in circles biting its tail while spinning in the direction of its mom.

It turns out that on the day I thought I'd find it difficult to find beauty, a day I'd be wrapped up emotionally in the loss of my father's passing, that in seeking peace I stirred up good memories of our time together, and the animals, the eagles, and those
lovely flowers all had a part lifting me back to my dad.

It was a wonderful day in the valley.

I'm looking forward to day 148.

See you on the journey--


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