Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Day 190, Wednesday, 7/16/08, Year Four Dancer & Daedee: Snow Falling on Eagles

Hello Eagle Friends,

I arrived in the valley late today because we had to put a new radiator in my truck.
We had a choice of a used one from a recall, or a new one. That was a no brainer.
Luckily, they were able to get the truck in and out in the estimate two hour wait that leaked into four, but I got my truck back before late afternoon and made it to the valley just as it cooled down to the low 80s.

The humidity was another story, but maybe the storms will come in tonight as predicted and cool the area down.

I hiked out to my west post and found no eagles on the nest. I waited for any trace of a call of an eagle so I knew what direction to go. Finally, I heard the eagles crying out and from what I could tell they sounded like they were down on the sandbar.

That was a good thing. It's much easier to see an eagle on the tan colored sand than in a tree where they blend into the shadows.

I hiked over to the river quietly because I didn't want to scare them up. They cried out and I thought maybe Dancer or Daedee was near but I never saw either pass me.

As I brushed through the nettles on the sandy embankment, challenging myself to create the first chigger sensor that lights up if you are in the company of them, I heard the eaglets cry again.

I folded the grasses that loomed several feet above my head off to the side and when I did Daniels turned his head right to me. He watched me from his perch, then he signaled to D'ODEE who turned and looked at me too.

"Well if you both know I'm here, there's no sense hiding behind the grasses." I thought to myself. I moved into the opening I cleared just the other day.

For the first time since the Twin Tree blew across the river I found a purpose for now it held the twins of 2008, the once eaglets now eagles I have slowly allowed myself to love.

I try not to get too attached because in a blink they are gone, or so it seems.

They will be 14 weeks old this week and that means our time left is short, maybe a month, maybe 6 weeks and as I looked down on the eagles, and for the first time they had to look up at me we all met again, and I think they sensed my desire to be close to them for they didn't fly off, but simply went on with being newly fledged eagles learning to fish from a fallen tree.

It was obvious from how wet D'ODEE was that he had already fallen into the river. Still, he tilted his head down as his eyes caught the shimmering silver fish passing past him. Catching him was another story.

After awhile Daniels moved back to the lowest branch of the Twin Tree, which is still growing peacefully, sideways up and out of the river. I told Dave, "What if the reason the tree fell there was so when the next flood came it created a dam, and changed the course of the river? I think God loves those eagles so much that he would change a river to spare one nest. The river will bend around the tree and wash out, carve the east side of the bank away sparing the west bank where the tall cottonwood waves its leaves like a flag.

I got the shot that I had waited over 13 weeks for. I got a shot of the two eagles
sitting together fishing the river with all the summer yellow flowers painted into their story at dusk.

As I through my bag over my shoulder and turned to leave, D'ODEE lifted and flew off to the south. I knew that meant Daniels would follow, and I just aimed my camera and followed him, following D'ODEE's path all the way to where the river ended in my viewfinder.

Then I heard the two of them crying out because they were together again.

That was a perfect ending for today. Every time I think of the 2008 twins, Daniels and D'ODEE I'm going to recall that flight I saw tonight. I'm going to remember their cries and how peaceful it was to know they had one another to play with, to fly with and to share a fallen tree or sandbar, or just sit and watch the river running by.

Nest 2 was empty. I have to admit that it was hard to see the nest empty again after spending the last two days with Terry Gail.

I found the mother white-tailed deer with her fawns. The filed had been plowed under but they were still scratching for the delicate greens that grew there.

The mom ran half way up the bluff and turned watching me. I could hear one of the twins wrestling with some heavy brush to the left. I moved on as the mom walked deep into the neck high flowers on the clearing of the bluff, pausing only for a moment to see if her fawns were following.

Nest 6 eaglets were not visible.

Nest 5 eaglets were not around.

I found no activity on nest 3 or 4.

However, as I back tracked the full moon was rising and I stopped to photograph it's path over the steep bluffs behind nest 5 and I could hear the eaglets crying out.

Then I saw a large bird passing, and another, and then two more. With each large bird the twins cries pitched higher and I would guess they may have thought they were their parents coming in with food, because the great blue herons fooled me too as they flew across the back marsh in the last second of daylight.

I photographed the moon in several places on my trip back and then I pulled over roadside to listen for the calls of the coyotes or wolves that never came. That made me even more sure it had been wolves the other night.

I looked up the road, and remembered how that little red fox ran up to me, and I wished I could see him again.

I'm looking forward to day 191.

See you on the journey--


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