and spring has finally sprung at Eastwood.
This has been a week full of seeing returning friends and meeting new friends. Just yesterday I saw my first bumblebees, butterflies and caterpillars of the season, but all week long more and more birds are arriving back home at the park. Here are just a few that have brought a smile to my face.
And that does not include the smiles that were delivered by our local Bald Eagles, Jim and Cindy! I have had fun meeting many new humans at Eastwood this week. The warmer weather, the still-unleafed-trees and eagles actively feeding eaglets are providing a rare (and very temporary) open window for eagle watching and many folks are taking advantage of it. Just this week I have met a young couple and there two dogs, a not-quite-as-young couple from Kettering and I was able to witness the excitement as a young woman experienced her lifelong wish of seeing a wild Bald Eagle!
But there were also a few frustrations as well. Of course there were periods of heavy, drenching rain and hours of gusty winds that made it difficult to stand let alone steady a telephoto zoom lens. But my greatest frustration came on Thursday. As I sat in my car, waiting to turn left through a seemingly endless line of opposing traffic, I saw Jim circling just below the treetops while fishing in the near end of the lake. When I finally found a gap of sufficient size in the oncoming traffic and made my way to the lake, I found no eagle! I asked a couple of people standing near the shore if they knew where the eagle had gone. They replied, “What eagle? We were talking and didn’t see any eagles.” Arrrrggg! Really people? He was about eye level and maybe 100 feet away with a 7-foot wingspan and you didn’t see any eagles!?
But later that evening as several of us were viewing the nest just before sunset, we witnessed a very brief flurry of activity. Another eagle had ventured too close to the aerie, quite possibly one of last year’s eaglets. Instantly Jim left his guard post just north of their tree and gave pursuit. As the two flashed behind the nest, Cindy covered the eaglets before rocketing skyward to add emphasis to Jim’s chastisement of the eaglet. Fifteen seconds later Cindy returned to the babies while Jim continued encouraging the youngster to move along. I had seen it all transpire before and although the moment is thrilling, I always feel sorry for the youngster who must be somewhat bewildered by Mom and Dad’s change in attitude.
If you are able to make it to the Eastwood Lake MetroPark at Route 4 and Harshman Road please be aware of what to expect. The nest is 1/2 mile to the east and the view through your camera or binoculars will be something like this.
But the eagles are flying about every hour or so and if they venture west at all you may see one soaring high overhead or passing by somewhat lower.
If there is a lot of boating activity on the lake or several people fishing around the lake the eagle will likely fish the Eagle Lake east of Harshman Road or hunt along the river. You just never know, but that is part of the fun and challenge when there are just two nesting eagles in the county!
But there is always something to watch as you wait for an eagle to appear and maybe those encounters will bring a smile to your face next Saturday as you find yourself looking back over the week.