Monday, July 14, 2008

Day 188, Monday, 7/14/08, Year Four Dancer & Daedee: Snow Falling on Eagles

Hello Eagle Friends,

Welcome back to the story of the eagles. It was another beautiful day in the valley, with temperatures in the mid 80s while I was there and not a cloud in sight. Dave and Em came with to hang out with me in the truck, but neither wanted to hike today in the heat, or fight the tangled grasses and bugs.

There was no activity on nest 7.

I hiked out to nest 1 and could hear the eaglets crying as if one of the parents had come in, and then I saw the beating of wings where they toppled each other on a branch in the top of the tree.

Daniels cascaded through the heavy foliage and caught himself on a lower branch of the nest tree. As I focused on him he was winded and yet I could see the eagerness in his eyes to leave the tree.

I was barely there a minute when he took off and flew to the north. He circled the fifty foot cottonwoods, and he flew between their silvery boughs back to the river where I could hear D'ODEE calling to him.

For the first time since the eagles began nesting, I was all alone at the nest tree for the first time in months.

As I have mentioned several times in these writings, this is where my journey becomes difficult. I know the eagles are there, somewhere in the 27,000 acres, but finding them is another challenge.

I broke my trail down to the river again and when I arrived I found myself twelve new nettle bites, and a couple deer fly nips.

D'ODEE was somewhere across the river but I couldn't see him. As I moved down the river I could hear Daniels, who sounded like he was back in the woods, at least a 100 feet off the river.

There was a fox squirrel that came out of the fallen tree and began drinking cottonwood flavored water from a crevice in the gaps of the bark. I thought he was a brave squirrel drinking, then eating something he found while two eaglets watched from their perches.

I hiked out and moved on to nest 2 but didn't find Terry Gail.

At nest 6 I found both twins above the nest on a perch that is appears to be about four feet above their nest.

Nest 5 had one eaglet perched above the nest.

By the time I reached nest 3 I felt like I had missed many of my usual evening opportunities coming out so early in the day I didn't get to see the fawns, and the buck and does, or the rabbits, the pheasants, the turkey, or those darling black-masked raccoons.

There was no activity on nest 3 or 4. It felt good to have my project finished for the day, and knowing I had the entire late afternoon and evening off, it was almost like having a day off after 188 days.

Still, on the drive out I wondered what shots I was going to miss tonight.

I got one of those twinges to recheck nest 2 and sure enough, there was Terry Gail sitting dead center, barely visible from behind the thick tree trunk blocking the center portion of their nest.

She looked great. Healthy, alert, and her cries could be heard up from the road. On my drive home I thought, and then Dave mentioned, "You probably wouldn't have got to see Terry Gail if you had not come down early today."

So the moral of this story is: Take each day gladly, expecting every good thing and your opportunities will find you no matter when you arrive.

I'm looking forward to day 189.

See you on the journey--


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