Our Eagles Are Nesting ~ 2017

Tami is obsessed. Obsessed, I tell you!

I showed up at the house to talk to her about all this snow, and how it’s piling up, and will it ever melt?!

But she just said, “Uh huh. Uh huh.” She never even looked up from her computer. I peeked over her shoulder and saw her editing photos of eagles on the nest.

That figures!  It must be April. She always does this when the our eagles nest . . . from now until those chicks hatch, it’ll be the eagles did this and the eagles did that . . .

 

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For example, last week she came back from her trek in the woods, all smiling and giddy.  She’d come from the lake and as usual, the eagle was sitting on the nest. She took a few pictures and had turned to head home when she heard a ruckus. When she turned back, she saw a juvenile eagle soar into view, the second adult eagle not far behind . . .

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At first, she thought the juvenile was after the nest, perhaps the eggs, but when she looked more closely at the photos, the adult had something in its talons.

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The juvenile was after the food.

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The second adult came back to the nest and together the two adults warned the juvenile off, as it soared over their heads.

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Eventually, the juvenile moved on and the adults settled down again.

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Once the danger had passed, Tami said the the second adult took to the air, it’s lunch still in its talons.

 

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I’m not sure I’d want to tangle with those eagles!

Then on April 1st, we had a giant April Fool’s snow storm, 13 inches of heavy wet snow. Tami and I trudged to the lake, worried about the eagles . . . and this is what we saw.

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Under all that snow, lies our eagle, with her eggs tucked under her.  I thought she’d be cold, but Tami said she suspected the snow acted like an insulation of sorts, keeping her and the eggs warm.

The next morning, when the sun came out, Tami and I went down again. She took this photo from the shoreline across from site 23, at 1,000 feet away, hoping to see down into the nest. At the time, she didn’t see anything but snow.

But once she cropped it   . . . see? See the white head?

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From our shoreline at 500 feet, this was the image Tami captured. That poor eagle!

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But by 3 o’clock in the afternoon, everything was back to normal!

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Be prepared, Tami’s gonna post a bunch of eagle photos from now until we open. They’ll be no stopping her, I’m afraid.  But as soon as you all get back here to camp, we can distract her with Clean Up Weekend and Spring Special Weekend photos. There’s so many of you camping with us this Spring! We’re going to kick off the season with a bang!

 

Winter Wildlife

Every day over school vacation week, I’ve gone to visit Tami, expecting her to be working hard on the manuscript for Cooper and Packrat’s fourth camping adventure. And every day David tells me she’s put on her snowshoes and trudged through the 35 inches of snow we got, to go down to the lake and visit the otter.  Sheesh!  Who’s the mascot around here anyway??

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Buuuuuut, I have to admit, that otter is kinda cute.

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Tami says those little ears, hear really well. And that nose, he can smell well, too. But otters don’t see so well. That’s how she’s able to get some good pictures of this shy guy.

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Today she was down there for two and a half hours!  As long as she stands really, really still, and she uses her adapter to extend her camera lens, she gets some okay pics when the little guy isn’t looking.

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While she was standing there a couple days ago, waiting for the otter to show up, a Common Merganser flew in!

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These duck-like birds act a lot like loons. They dive for fish, and carry their chicks on their backs.

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Loons don’t have that messy hairdo though!

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There wasn’t a lot of open water down there by the beaver hut, but this guy made the most of it.

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Today, the eagles soared as a pair over the house. You should have seen all the squirrels run for cover!

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There are extra sticks on the nest, so it won’t be long now. Nesting will happen sometime in March and I’m sure Tami will get pics for you!

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We’re looking forward to eagle chicks this year . ..

When The Campers Are Away . . .

While all of our campers are away, the wildlife comes out to play!

In early January, a Barred Owl perched on our front lawn for over four hours, hoping for a quick meal!

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He even sat right on top the bird feeder at one point!  The smaller song birds didn’t pay him any mind, but I swear the squirrels didn’t come back for days.

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He was not successful that day, but I can’t walk by a window, or go to the car without looking up to see if he’s returned.

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In mid-January, during an ice storm, the foxes burst into our backyard . . .

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At first we thought they were fighting, a territory thing.

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But it quickly became obvious, it was more of a mating thing.

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Love was in the air!

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And just last weekend, while I was hiking (wish it was snowshoeing) the camp trail, I came across an otter catching Sunday dinner down by the beaver hut!

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He lay next to holes in the ice, watching, waiting, then slipping soundlessly into the water.

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Most times he came out with nothing. But one time, he emerged with a fish!

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Holding it in his front paws, he ate it right there on the ice.

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I was quite a ways away and needed an extension on my 500mm lens in order to capture these photos.

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Even after 26 years, I’m still finding new creatures to photograph!

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We’ve seen the eagles, but there’s no signs of mating or nesting quite yet. It’s still early, though. Normally, they begin to nest at the end of March, with the chicks being born around May 1st.

Come back often for updates on them!

Great Horned Owls

Opening weekend at our campground came and went, with plenty of campers checking in to help us rake and clean up the campground. Campfires blazed at night, kids road bikes and played on the campground together after the long winter.

Tami just blah-blah-blahed the whole time with the campers about how many eaglets we had this year and whether or not the loons were nesting yet.

Everyone went home on Sunday, and when Friday rolled around, they all returned. Tami went out to check on the eagles while I played with the kids and helped Debbie and Brooke plan our summer recreation.  Suddenly Tami went running by with her camera.

“Hey-” I called. But she was gone!

I followed her, thinking she’d seen a snapping turtle laying eggs. Or a chickadee nest. Or an oriole’s hanging nest.

But it was none of those things. It was a pair of Great Horned Eaglets!

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Twenty six years Tami and Dave have owned this piece of property. Tami used to tell me how she walked around the campground always looking up – and tripping over tree roots – trying to catch a glimpse of an owl nest. But she could count on only one hand the number of times she’d spied an owl.

Our campers only saw this pair because a piece of the nest fell, and someone  looked up to find these adorable owlets looking back at them. They never heard a peep or a hoot the weekend before. Owls can be silent. Very silent.

The day was gray, but Tami took picture after picture after picture. David thought she’d never come home!  They she researched Great Horned Owls into the early morning hours. She talked for days and days and days about them!

It turns out, their nest disintegrating is normal. And they rarely return to the same place to nest again.

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The next morning, one of my little campers came to the office with her phone. She’d woken up and looked out her camper window to find one of the owlets on the ground looking up at her!  Again, Tami did research and found that owlets on the ground is not necessarily a bad thing either.  This helps them strengthen their leg muscles, and their beaks and talons will help them climb to a new perch.  The best thing we can do, Tami told her, was to keep our distance.

(That owlet hasn’t been seen since, but I believe I’ve heard it)

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The owlet left in the tree started branching, venturing further and further from the trunk of the tree.

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Tami went down Monday after school.

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The little owl cleaned between his toes and slept an awful lot.

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She went down Tuesday.

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On Wednesday, Tami came home from school and grabbed her camera. Diane told her, she hadn’t seen the owlet that morning.  But when Tami went down, it was there! Only on  a different branch.

Had it fledged and come back?

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Tami took mega photos, and thank goodness she did. ‘Cause on Thursday, the owlet wasn’t there. Not on any of the branches.

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Again today, it wasn’t there either.

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We never did see an adult all week, but we aren’t worried. Tami’s research says the adult is perched in a nearby tree, all part of the plan for this little one to take flight and hunt for itself.

(side note: owlets can eat 13-16 mice per night at just 3-4 weeks old!)

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We’re so happy to have had a chance to see these great raptors live and up close. I’m sure Tami is going to be walking and looking up for quite a while to come!

2016 Eagle Nest

 

Yesterday, I donned my snowshoes to trek through the campground to the lake. I was anxious to check on the eagle’s nest. Not that its time for them to be sitting on it, but one of the sure signs they’ll be nesting, is if I have proof they’ve added to it recently.

Here’s the nest last March, just before nesting season began.

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Here is what I saw yesterday . . .

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You can see where they’ve added a stick here and a branch there.

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Things are looking good for a nesting pair!!

Every year I worry about the weight, though.  The wildlife biologist who’d come to band the eagles a few years ago had said it weighed approximately 700 to 800 pounds!  Can you imagine!?

I saw no sign of the eagles that day, but they’ve been here.  These pictures prove it.

I’m looking forward to documenting our nesting pair this year!  To give you a timeline, they were sitting on eggs March 24th last year. I happened to be at the lake during one of their mating attempts a few weeks before that. And the eaglets were born a week before we opened the campground May 1st.  We still have a few weeks to go!

But it’s worth the wait.

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The Place Is Going To The Birds!

Tami is a little obsessed with taking bird photos lately.

You probably know she goes out on the lake to take photos of Eagles and Loons, but she also looks for Red-Winged Blackbirds . . .

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Grackles . . .

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And Osprey who’ve just caught a fish.

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She sits on her own front lawn to take photos of Baltimore Orioles

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And Hummingbirds too . . .

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We’d love to see the photos you take while staying with us.  Please feel free to share them on our Facebook page, or e-mail them to our office and we’ll share them on our blog.

 

And We’ve Started the 2015 Nesting Season!

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The happy couple is expecting!  And if Tami’s calculations are correct, they should be born right around opening day.  Which means, we’ll be able to get a head count (when they can hold up their heads) around two weeks after that.

Tami has marked it on her calendar. She’s all ga-ga and well, you know how she gets about her eagles and her loons.

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Look at how big the nest has gotten!  Isn’t that like, an eagle mansion or something?

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The last time we saw the nest grow to this size, there were triplets.  But Tami keeps telling me that we already had triplets, just a couple years ago.  And THAT was a miracle.

But I can’t help wondering . . .

Because they’re still adding to it!  Tami just watched the mate of the nesting eagle bring a branch in today!

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Tami still has to put on the snowshoes to get to the lake.  She tried to go without yesterday, ’cause she was in a hurry, but she sunk up to her knees one too many times.

There’s still ice on the lake too.  We can’t wait for the wood ducks, geese and loon to get back.  Tami’s getting a little tired of taking pictures of chickadees, Red-breasted woodpeckers, and nuthatches, as cute as they may be.

We’ll keep you posted on those eagle babies!

 

Five to Ten Days From Now . . .

 

A quick, quick post, because it’s past my bedtime and if Tami catches me on the computer, I’ll get grounded!!

But it’d be worth it to show you these!  Look!

We’ve been watching the eagles bringing grasses and pine boughs to the nest for about a week or so.

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They’re pretty picky about how everything gets arranged too.

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AND then we got to see something pretty cool –

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The eagles mated.

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This will give us a timeline for when the eggs will be laid and for when we can expect eaglets!

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So, 5 to 10 days from Wednesday, means we’ll see an adult sitting on the nest between 3/15 and 3/20.  And then we’ll see eaglets between April 19th and 26th  !

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Tami’s already marked it on the calendar.  We can’t wait to see how many there are this year.

 

Shhhhh! The Eagles Are Expecting

I think Spring is in the air!

Tami and I trudged down over the snow to the lake’s edge. I was surprised to see so many people and ice shacks down at the State Park beach.

“What’s going on?” I asked Tami.

“Hmmm – must be the Ice Derby.”  But she wasn’t looking at me, she already had the camera to her eye . . .

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“Wow!” I exclaimed.  “They’re already nesting!  Isn’t that early?”

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Tami and I watched as snowmobiles traveled by, ice fisherman called out to one another and a couple even started fishing right under the nest.  Still, the eagle stayed on her eggs, only her head moving around.

Her mate was not so calm however.

He fidgeted.

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He wobbled.

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He shifted.

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Eventually he settled down for a little bit, and Tami was able to focus in to get a good shot.

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He eventually flew off.  And it was just us and the nesting eagle.

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Do you think their nesting early is a sign of an early spring?

Tami and I like to think so.