Thursday, January 17, 2008

Bald is Beautiful

My wife knew how frustrated and disappointed I was for not seeing the Bald Eagle at Bonelli Park last December. Three times I tried to locate it and three times I failed! Since the start of the new year, Cynthia had been urging me to give it another try but hard-headed guy that I was, I adamantly refused. Today, Wednesday, January 16th, she took a day off from work and insisted that we go to Bonelli. Now how can I refuse such an act of faith and devotion?

We toured the RV area where the eagle had been reported seen lately, even inquiring from the office for any leads. But no sign of the huge raptor. After about an hour we decided to park near the east shore rationalizing that if the bird decided to show itself we still could see it from where we were. We walked along the paved road contenting ourselves with getting pictures of the usual avian population of the area. American Pipits, Yellow-rumps, Song Sparrows and a single Say's Phoebe kept us company.

Soon it was noon..the time when the eagle was supposed to appear. We both sat on a picnic bench scouring the lake for any flying bird. Everytime a raptor-like bird would appear from the horizon Cynthia would jump up and yell, "There it is!"

"Only an Osprey", I would always tell her, dashing her hopes time and again.

About quarter to two, our hearts were beginning to sink in desperation. I stood up ready to return to the Jeep when I noticed a bird soaring above the RV area. Resigning myself to the fact that it probably was just a Red-tailed Hawk, I brought up my binoculars to see it better. When it turned, I noticed the white tail (couldn't be a red-tailed hawk now, could it?) then as it glided majestically towards the lake, the unmistakable white head confirmed that at last my eyes have laid upon the avian symbol of the United States of America.

"Here it comes!" I yelled to Cynthia, who knew what I meant without me even mentioning what the "it" was. She wasted no time taking its photograph. We got some pictures but the eagle was too high for any good quality shot. 

Eventually, the bird flew off to parts unknown. Cynthia hugged me and we were both thankful that our hearts were not broken this time. We got our first lifer of the year!

Before we went home, I took some gratuitous shots of the resident Painted Redstart and its symbiotic partner, the Red-breasted Sapsucker.

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