Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Day 155, Wednesday, 6/11/08, Year Four Dancer & Daedee: Snow Falling on Eagles

Hello Eagle Friends,

As I type this, lightening bolts are striking Rochester, Minnesota in every direction, the thunder is crashing through the rains, and my lights are flickering. We are under so many warnings and watches, perhaps it's quicker to write the situations we aren't under: hurricane's, earthquakes, and there are no threats of volcanic eruptions.

I was blessed to arrive in the valley during the only few hours today when the rains were not coming down, long enough to do my entire project. However, don't think even for a second that I did my project in anything less that soaked sneakers. All I had left that was dry were my old sneakers with broken laces. At home there is a deck-long
line where my boots are drying out. My rain bibs didn't stay dry beyond the first 100 yards into the 5-6 foot grasses on my hike to nest 1.

It was mid-seventies, but it felt much cooler with the cold rain I was wearing.

Several times this season I have wondered if perhaps I'm being prepped for a rain forest expedition. With all this non-stop wet weather experience, at least I know what camera bodies, lenses, and rain gear that I would not take with me.

That animal was out by me again. I scared it back into the brush, but it only goes about 50 feet away and then circles me again. Sometimes it comes in so close I can hear it exhale. I'll bring Dale out again tomorrow.

The twins were eagerly watching the skies for the return of their parents with dinner.
After a short while, and several shots I watched them dive down in the nest and I looked to see Dancer coming in at record speed.

He dropped off a fish and the two nine week old eaglets leapt upon each other trying to get their talons into the wet, slimy fish. Dancer hopped over to the edge of the nest and immediately began pulling up a long stick that was perpendicular to the rest of the sticks. I wondered if he had brushed against it as he landed, and saw it as a hazard, or was he pulling it up to make the nest uncomfortable. "Stirring up the nest," as it mentions in the bible. Of course the bible states it is the mother eagle that stirs up the nest, so maybe he was just moving the stick so he didn't hit it again when landing.

At nest 2 Terry Gail sat on the edge of the nest, but didn't offer anything more than a few glances for today's notes.

At nest 6 the twins were moving around but the lighting was so poor I couldn't get the shots I wanted. There was however, the most wonderful storm cloud above their marsh, it looked like a soot-colored tornado painted on the shades of gray in the sky and it stretched three miles in length, connecting nest 1 to nest 6, or there abouts.

At nest 5 the twins were milling about and the clouds were darkening. I wasn't sure if a tornado would drop at any second, or if the storm would pass without incident.

At nest 3 and 4 I shot the distant scenes of the two nests. I could see Victory Bell up facing the storm clouds, brave little eaglet that he is. He reminded me of his sibling that died, Tookie, from the nest that collapsed in 2005. Something in his calm
something in his fearlessness showed a strength we all could learn from.

On my way back I saw a doe in the road drinking from the puddles there and she is always looking over her shoulder when I find her, if it is the same doe, and I wonder if she has a fawn hiding in the grasses that she turns to watch.

As I left the valley the rains poured down again, and I was thankful that I was driving home in soaked shoes, but my cameras and equipment was spared the weight of the rain.

Canon doesn't cover mud or rain that gets inside their camera bodies. That is a word for all you that buy that extended coverage too.

I'm looking forward to day 156.

See you on the journey--


The twins were up on the nest at nest 1.

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