Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Day 176, Wednesday, 7/2/08, Year Four Dancer & Daedee: Snow Falling on Eagles

Hello Eagle Friends,

It was another hot, humid Minnesota day. Temperatures were down to 80 when I left for the valley late this afternoon, but I heard they will be in the 90s tomorrow.

When I arrived at nest 7, at least a dozen turkey vultures were circling above the nest at the top of the bluff. I thought for a moment there was an eagle on the nest, but it turned out to be the leaves on a branch tilting up which made them appear white like the head of an eagle.

I decided to cover all my other nests first before heading to nest 1. I found no activity, not even a peep from Terry Gail at nest 2, and I wonder if she is okay. I did see The Mayor or Judy circling the marsh to the west and I stopped to see if Terry Gail was trailing but I didn't see her.

I could see one of the twins at sitting up on nest 6.

When I arrived at nest 5 I hoped to see the eaglets at least one more day and at first all I found was an empty nest. After a few moments I noticed, the bright yellow feet on the upper limb. There they were, side by side looking out my way.

As I focused in on nest 3, I could see Victory Bell on the north side of his nest. I wanted to hike out again. Nothing in view at nest 4.

On my way to nest 1 there was a group of orange flowers that caught my attention so I hiked to them to get a closer look. I remember photographing these when I did my 580 day marsh project, they were one of the "new" subjects I covered. Then a yellow sulpher butterfly passed me so I followed him to get his shot, but every time I got close he flew again.

His trail led me to a dragonfly and the dragonfly led me to a stink bug. The stick bug lead me to the shot I was sure I was supposed to get but probably would have never found had it not been for the sudden appearance of those orange flowers.

A little brown and white skipper butterfly resting between live and dead plants that matched his coloration.

Further up the road, I noticed that male red-breasted grosbeak again. This time he was with a female, or perhaps one of his offspring. I'm not sure what the female grosbeaks look like. I watched him fly to one of the long grasses and pick out a few seeds, turning them in his beak and then swallowing them.

A few seconds later and a young male, his son flew in and knocked him off the grass stem and began eating on the exact place his dad was just eating. I watched him peak out from behind the grass and that is what I had been waiting for, so I snapped that picture.

I didn't expect a female bird, possibly his sister to come in and knock him from his perch and feed exactly on the same grass seeds. I shot a few pictures of this female and then in a flutter everyone was gone.

There were a half dozen deer I wanted to stop and photograph, but the light was changing and I had to get to my main nest.

I listened carefully as I hiked out, hoping to hear Terry Gail again, but I didn't hear anything but the rustle of the grasses.

When I reached my main post I noticed Daniels Charlie had made it to the far east limb. Once the eaglets make it to this limb they are ready to go--they are ready to be eagles and now we all just wait. We may have our 4th of July fledging.

D'ODEE is not ready to go. He is hardly even exploring the other limbs. I don't expect him to leave before next week, unless he falls out, or is pushed out by Daniels while trying to hold the food portions.

I stayed until the great horned owls began calling and the muffled barks of the coyotes drew near. The grass was already covered in dew and the sun had gone behind the bluffs at least hour before I left. I wanted to be there until the last of the light was on the eaglets. I wanted to be there just in case Daniels tried to leave.

Then as I packed my gear he turned on the branch and he walked to the outer tip where the limb narrowed to circumference of
a ladies wrist. He opened his wings facing the river and for a moment he just shared with the moving waters his his heart and his soul and in his cry he told the winds I am an eagle and I am ready to fly--just come pick me up.

But the winds didn't come, not tonight, for every eagle has to want it bad enough that even God can see it in Heaven, in his desires of his heart.

I'm looking forward to day 177.

See you on the journey--


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