Sunday, June 8, 2008

Day 152, Sunday, 6/8/08, Year Four Dancer & Daedee: Snow Falling on Eagles

Hello Eagle Friends,

As I type these words tonight I crave the comfort of a warm house, and a blanket to suffocate the chill that snuck into me while sitting in the rain all day. It was 75 degrees when I reached the valley today. We had storms all night, all morning and on and off thunderstorms all afternoon and into the evening.

I shot most of my images today at ISO 800 and 1/10th to 1/30th of a second. It gave me practice panning as almost every subject was on the go.

There was no activity on nest 7, unless you count the rain.

I decided to do my other nests first and save nest 1 for last. With the grass nearing 6 feet already I knew the scene well, and I'd be swimming to the eagle post.

At nest 2, Terry Gail was sitting up in the rain. I had hoped to get a few shots of her moving around, flying up, or at least moving, but she was content with the rain falling at her sides. She's nine weeks old today. Nine. She could leap into the air any second, any day now. I hope I'll be there when it happens.

At nest 6 the youngest twin turned 6 weeks old today. The other is 6 weeks and 2 days of age. Since they will likely be the last eaglets to fledge I'm hoping I'll get to spend more time with them as their time comes.

At nest 5 I found two hungry caterpillars munching on grasses. One dropped out of sight and the other just kept on chewing away, leaving little crescent shaped patterns in the grass blade. I could see the eaglets, barely, but I could see them. Both were still on the nest and I noticed one flapping and slapping the other in its face.

The skies were so dark and full of rain it seemed like it was 9:30 at night. I wondered what critters I'd find out with me once I got out to nest 1.

At nest 3 I could see Victory Bell picking at food in the nest. Nest 4 had no eagles flying in or out.

The dragonflies, and hover bees, and damselflies all were flying from the grass patches to the grassy shores, I stopped to photograph a blue damselfly or darner I'm not sure what they call these little skinny ones. Email me if you know.
After I shot his picture I noticed old gold eyes, the bull frog sitting on his bog, staring back and I think he may have even been smirking at me.

"Oh, that's real funny. Wise guy-eh? Well, Gold-Eyes, you just go ahead and sit there on that little floating bog but I should warn you, I set three turtles free in your spot, a couple years ago. They might just get hungry for a gold-eyed bull frog."

I shrugged, and looked back and I think he must have heard my thoughts, "I'll see you tomorrow," because he turned partially to meet my gaze, or else he was tuning on the shroud of insects I was stirring up with each step.

Wouldn't you know it. I looked at the time and I really for the first time ever, believed I really was going to be home at 8:15 PM,
real-time, not Lisa Time. I no more than let that pride go to my head and I took a bend and found a, you guessed it, another snapping turtle in the road. What is it with snapping turtles this week?

This one was different. He was sporting a golden colored snail, moving at a pace that would beat this turtle. I went to get my tripod, but for some reason my truck was sealed shut from the heavy rains and I couldn't even wedge it open. So after trying for five minutes I shook it off and climbed through the back seat over my piles of outdoor gear and pulled my tripod out.

The turtle took it and I pulled her off to the grasses. I don't know how many people would stop for a snapping turtle. I've seen many run over on the various highways. I don't know how many turtles I've moved off the roads, but I would guess were in triple digits now. I know that besides me, the only one it really made a difference to, was those turtles that were moved.

I geared up for nest 1 and the skies rumbled more than they had been all day. The lightening flashed a few times, but mostly the rain just would not let up. I hiked out and I was soaked even through my rain bibs. I could feel a river of water sloshing around in each boot. That's why I go barefoot in my boots.

I'd rather not have to walk around all day with wet socks sticking to my feet too. Besides, when I am barefoot in my boots and they fill up with water, it sometimes reminds me of walking on the edges of Steamboat Lake where we vacationed; except I don't have to worry about crawdaddies pinching my toes.

The twins were drenched. They were so wet and looked so cold that I would have given them my rain gear if I could. They would shake it all off and then I would watch the heavy rains soak them again and again. The rains seemed to keep them close together. Daniels Charlie acts so much like Damian Danielle, the older twin from last year, that I find myself calling him Damian at times.

D'ODEE leaned in under the umbrella of his brother and when I saw this I thought of all the solo eaglets in their nests in rainstorms and I wondered who would be their cover, who would take the rain so only the drips would land on their backs?
As I watched these eaglets growing up, I've noticed how strong their bond has become these last couple weeks.

Today's example just strengthens their bond even more. I soaked all my gear, my bags, my cameras, and even the inside of my rain poncho, and don't even think for a moment these rains would not have found a way inside. I had to guess at focusing most of my shots of the twins today as the lenses were fogging up so badly, and then the light dropped to nil.

I think we are due for some clear weather tomorrow. These eaglets have never seen hot weather for more than a day or two.
They have all been blessed for having the cooler weather even though they endured more storms, and snow.

As I hiked out, I could hear the thunder of the rising of the river. Chocolate soup, that's what it was now, a frothy, stirred with earth and eagles dreams of flight.

I'm looking forward to day 153.

See you on the journey--


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