Our Eagle Pair

 

Look what Tami saw today!

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The eagles have come together!  She was so excited she sent David a text that said something like:

The egls R beck

But we knew what she meant.

The problem was she couldn’t get within a good photo range.  They were always one step ahead of her.  When she got to the lakefront, they flew off to chase each other around the lake.

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And they landed on another island. So Tami inched her way out onto the ice to get close.

If you knew Tami, you’d know that was huge.  HUGER than HUGE!  She hates going out on the ice.  I can count on one hoof the number of times she’s snowshoe-d her way along it. Whenever the air bubbles under the ice make that loud gurgling noise, she hits the deck.

No.  Really.  She falls to the ice.

Anyway, when the eagles landed in the tree on the island, she caught this photo.

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It looks like we’re going to have a nesting pair this year!

This was their nest last fall

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The one they built after the nest they’d raised their triplets in, fell.

Check out how much they’ve added to it the last couple of weeks!

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Come back often for eagle updates!

 

 

Pileated Woodpecker

Oh, for heaven’s sake!

It took forever to wrestle the computer away from Tami.  She’s been hard at work on Cooper and Packrat’s second adventure, Mystery of the Eagle’s Nest.  As she loves to tell us over and over, she has to meet her deadline so it can be released in August 2014.

And of course she’s been hard at work putting together the Calendar of Events for 2014.  I got a sneak peek and we have a new theme weekend!  It’s a space/alien/sci-fi kind of thing, from what I could see.  Cool!

So how did I finally get the computer away from her?

I told her I’d seen the eagle at the lake.

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Of course she dropped everything to put on her snow gear and to pack up her camera equipment.  Crunch, crunch, crunch, went her boots in the snow as she trudged away from the house.

She called me from the frozen lakeside though.  “Where did you say he was?” she asked.

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“Ummmmm – way across the lake. Down by the beaver hut-” I told her.

She sighed.  “You’re on my computer, aren’t you?”

“Maaaaaybe . . . ”

“Well, keep it fired up.  I have some great photos for you to share with your readers.”

“Eagle?” I asked.  If it was, I’d be surprised. It isn’t time for them to nest yet, we don’t usually see much of them until February vacation.

“Nope, but something new!” Tami exclaimed.  Then she hung up.  Made me wait an hour to see what she’d found!

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It was this Pileated Woodpecker, feasting on carpenter ants in a small birch tree at the edge of the lake.  It was probably harvesting all the food it could before the two ice storms we had.

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The Woodpecker’s beak hitting the tree sounded more like a “crack”, so at first, Tami  thought it was ice shifting on the lake.

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Chips of wood about an inch long flew everywhere!  This is female. The male Pileated Woodpeckers have a bright red stripe on their cheek.  A pair of them will stay together year round, defending their territory.

Pileated Woodpeckers can be a nuisance, the way they cut through trees with their sharp beaks in search of insects.  This leaves the trees open to disease and rot.  But the holes these big birds create become great nesting spots for other animals, such as owls, bats and Purple Martens.  And imagine the ants and termites we’d have if the woodpeckers didn’t think they were so yummy!

We have more great news to share .  . . but all in good time!

 

 

Late Fall Wildlife

Hey campers!  I’m baaaaack!

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Pileated Woodpecker

Tami has been busy with school and promoting her book, Cooper and Packrat.  But she still finds time to take nature walks with her camera!

Her latest find?  A pair of muskrats, getting their den ready for winter.

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Along the trail are tons of winterberry shrubs.  She likes to stand still for hours and hours to see what birds will come to feast on them.  She won’t let me go, because I talk too much.  She won’t let Cookie go, because she can’t stand still.

Last week, Tami didn’t see any birds, but she caught this squirrel hanging upside down to chew off a twig, then scramble back up to a branch to feed.

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Tami’s booking next year’s entertainment now.  She’ll have the new themed schedule out right after Christmas.  Rumor has it, there might be a new theeeeeme!  As soon as I can sneak a peek at her notes, I’ll fill you in on all the details.

Stay tuned for more info!

 

Everything But Moose!

Once again, Tami *thinks* she scored with her wildlife photos.

Not even close.

She said she was taking a quick walk to the lake to give Cookie some exercise.  Down and back, she said, ’cause she was supposed to work on creating a school visit presentation to go along with her new book, Cooper and Packrat that’s coming out in August.

We trudged down, Tami telling me all the way how she hadn’t see the eagles her last four trips to the lake.  When we got there, she sighed.  “No eagles again,” she said sadly, pulling her scarf up over her mouth and nose.

“Yes there is!” I said.  You know, sometimes, that Tami is too quick to give up!!  I pointed out on the ice.

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And Tami started clicking away!!!

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Tami oooohed and aaaaahed and talked about how handsome he was.  Give me a break!!  No eagle is as handsome as a moose.  And I wonder if she’d think he was so awesome if she knew he might have stolen that fish from a fisherman.  They’re pretty sneaky, you know.

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The eagle flew off, but Tami searched until she found him perched along the edge of the golf course.

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The wind was whipping down the lake across the ice, and the wind chill was ferocious.  My hooves  were so cold they were tingling, and I’m a moose!  Tami wanted to stay, but her hands were frozen solid too.  So we headed for home.  We were almost there when Tami changed her mind and decided get the card from her trail camera.

“You can go home though,” she said.

“What and let you have all the fun!?” I teased.

We did take Cookie home though, because the trail camera is near where Tami put out deer food and a salt lick. It wouldn’t do for her to get a whiff of that!

Tami let Cookie in the house and asked David to put on the coffee.  “We’ll be right back.”

When Tami got to the trail camera, she opened it to see there were six new photos.  “Hmmmmm,” she said, putting in a new one and dropping the other in her pocket.  “Maybe we’ll finally find out what’s living in that den.”  Then she turned to head deeper into the woods.

“Whoa!  Where are you going?” I asked. “Coffee’s-”

“I want to check out the owl perch I found last week,” she said.  “It’ll only take a minute.”

Poor David.  Tami just doesn’t know what a *quick walk* is!  Especially when she she has her camera with her!

She took me there and you know, I think she’s right. It’s an owl perch.  The base of the tree is littered with 1 inch long, smooth, oval shaped pellets.  And there’s thousands of them!  All around the tree. But no owls were roosting there, or anywhere I could see.

“Coffee?” I reminded her.

“Yeah,” she said.

But just as we stepped out of the woods and into the circle of campsites, we heard crazy chickadee calls. Lots of them.  Right off the back of site 126.  I tried to see what was going on, and just as I caught sight of him, he took to flight!  A large, silent, gray swoop between the trees up toward the main road of the campground.

We followed slowly, cringing every time our boots and hooves crunched in the snow.

And then Tami pointed to it  . . .

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Isn’t he gorgeous!!

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Tami met David at the house door with a huge grin!  She must have taken forty pictures!

While she sipped coffee and told David of our travels, I popped the trail camera card into my laptop.  To my surprise, this is what I found . . .

Here’s the den we’ve been watching.  Tami think it’s home to a fisher . . . or that’s what past photos, (not very clear because the camera was further away) have hinted at.

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Obviously, this fox is interested in the den too!  There’s six photos total of him around the hole, but not going in.  I think he’s stalking whatever lives there.  Tami left the camera in place, and time will tell.

You know, even with all these photos . . . and with Tami finally capturing the owl . . . she just doesn’t realize she’s already taken the perfect wildlife photo!  She doesn’t have to search any more!

Sheesh!  Doesn’t she know who the star of the campground is?

The Eagles Have Been Busy . . .

After Whittier Middle School’s 5K race today, Tami and David decided to take a quick  walk down the trail to the lake.  When we got there, Tami gasped!

“Pinch me!” she said.

The eagles are rebuilding the nest!

Here’s what it looked like three weeks ago . . .

and what it looked like in September . . .

and at the end of August after it had fallen . . .

How cool is this!  Tami was sooooo worried the eagles wouldn’t stay, even though she’d read that they might rebuild if they’d had successful nests in the past.  And we all know these two certainly were! Most year’s they had two babies and then Triplets in 2012!

Tami just didn’t have faith . . .

Looks like we’ll be able to take pictures for at least another year. Not only was this adult on the new nest, but two trees over was the second adult!

Tami is such a happy camper right now, you have no idea.

Images from the November Snowstorm

Alex, Tami and I couldn’t resist walking the campground during the November 23rd storm.  We trudged our way through a foot of snow to bring you the following images . . .

One of our seasonal campers, buttoned up tight

 

the tree that Ed planted . . .

 

The lakeside trail . . .

 

The wind was blowing pretty hard . . .
The island with the house . . .
The Eagle's Nest
A splash of color
The ice is forming
A tipped picnic table in the 60's
Interesting . . .

We aren’t sure yet if this round of snow will melt . . . time will tell!  It was a pretty snowfall, to be sure.

On The Eve of A November Snowstorm

Tami and I took a walk last Sunday when the temps reached 60 degrees.

“Who knows when it’ll be this warm again?” she said.

Little did we know, the weathermen would be predicting 6 – 12 inches of snow for Wednesday!

I told Tami I wanted to see some wildlife. She told me not to get my hopes up.  “It’s pretty late in the season, Maxx,” she warned.

That Tami!  She’s such a glass-half-full-kind of person!

It was already getting kind of dusk-ish out, but down by the lake, the sun lit up the other shore . . .

the island with the house . . .

 

Looking off toward Range Pond State Park beach . . .

 

Tami immediately started snapping pictures, but I had spied something better.

“Psssst!” I whispered.

She didn’t hear me.

“Psssssssssssssssssst!” I said a little louder.

She waved a hand my way.

“OVER HERE!” I yelled.

“Geesh! Wait a minute! The sun won’t be shining like this forever -”

“I don’t think the eagles will be on their island much longer either -”

Tami whipped around so fast, I thought she was gonna fall in the water!

BOTH eagles were sitting pretty, just waiting for Tami to take their photo; one on the nest and another on a nearby tree.   If you look back through the blog, you’ll see that once the babies leave the nest, we rarely see them together again until February, when they get ready to lay another set of eggs. Tami was so excited, she almost missed seeing the cormorant on a nearby log too . . .

And then, on the way back home, we also saw how hard the beavers have been working along the lakeside trail.

This tree that they took down is about eight feet long.  It fell in such a way that it was caught in the bushes, so the beavers are stripping it of its bark, and cutting it into three foot chunks.

So much for not seeing any wildlife, huh?

Still, in all her years at the campground, Tami hasn’t seen a beaver in the wild yet.  She’s heard their tail slap the water in warning, but that’s it.

Beavers are pretty interesting mammals:  They have only one partner, can live about 24 years, their kits stay with them for about 2 years with the parents sharing duties, and they’re second only to humans in their ability to change their environment.

One of these days, she swears she’ll have a picture to show you!

Is It Spring Yet? All the Campers Want To Know!

Hey Campers!!
How’s everyone doing? Are you waiting for Spring to really start?  I know it’s supposed to be officially here, but I hadn’t seen it yet.

So my buddy Cookie and I headed out into the campground today to find it.  We were kind of disappointed that the snow was still close to knee deep in spots, but there were a lot of bare spots too!  Especially at the lake point.

I had to keep a very, very close eye on Cookie too because she goes bonkers for open water, and there was plenty of that to be found!

While we walked the snowshoe trail, we saw places where it looked like the deer might have lain down.  And look at this . . .

I’d say those busy beavers have been hard at work, wouldn’t you?

Cookie and I said hi to the eagle who’s sitting high on her throne nest.

We’re really looking forward to seeing eagle babies!

We saw the wood duck pair today too!  Down by the beaver hut.

I’ve always wanted to see their babies, especially in that moment where they drop from their tree nest, to the ground and head for the water.  I bet that’s really cool to watch.

Cookie and I agreed, we’d seen lots of signs of Spring, and we were about to head for home when we heard honking.  No, not car honking . . .

Goose honking!  There was a whole flock in that little patch of open water.

I’m very surprised Cookie didn’t take off after them – she’s not very trained on “stay”.  Not like I am anyway . . .

I took one last photo on my way back from the lake . . .

The owner of this camper can’t wait for Spring either! I bet she could tell you, right down to the minute, how many days we have left before camp opens . . .

It won’t be long now!

Eagle gawking . . .

Hey! Maxx here . . .

So, you should have seeeeen Tami’s face when she found out Dave got pictures of the eagle first this year.  She was like, on a mission to get down to that lake and find them for herself.

Not only did she grab her camera, but she took an extra battery, the lens extension AND the tripod.  “I know I can get more pictures and better pictures than David,” she grumbled. “It just takes patience.”

Cookie and Ben followed along too.  Tami made them take the leash, even though Cookie’s tail drooped at the sight of it.  But it’s a good thing they did because the lake was loaded with people!   Normally it’s pretty quiet, even on the weekends.  But instead, we saw snowmobiles putt-putting up and down the length of it, ice fisherman  out with their families, dogs  yapping,  four wheelers doing donuts over and over again while they waited for their little orange flags to pop up . . .

and even a sea plane landed!

Tami was sooooo worried the eagles wouldn’t hang around with all that busy-ness.  But there they were, watching over everything like the King and Queen of the lake.

Tami set up her tripod, while B and Cookie hung out on the point.   When she had the camera in place she turned it on and snapped two pictures.

“Darn it,” she said.

“What’s up?”  I asked.

“The battery died already!  Wait! I have another!” she grinned at me and said, “Aren’t I smart?”

I made a face at B, and he rolled his eyes back at me  as Tami put her spare battery in the camera.  When she said a bad word, I thought she’d seen me, until she cried out, “This battery’s dead too!”

Just then, the eagle started squawking.  Tami said, ‘No, no, no, no, stay there! Please!”

A beautiful hawk came into view.  The way it soared . . . I wanted to trade my antlers for wings!  It passed right over our heads, and even though Tami didn’t have a battery, she tried to take pictures anyway.  Click, click, click.

She was pretty close to tears.  “Hey,” I said.  “Why don’t I run up and see if Dave has another battery, okay?”

She sniffled and gave me a little smile.  “Th-thanks Maxx.  I’ll stay and keep an eye on the eagles.  Hurry!”

Like . . . did she think she could get them to stay if they decided to go hunting?

Anyway, B, Cookie and I ran from the lake, past campsites, and all the way up the hill to the house.  After getting a battery from David, we ran down the hill, past the campsites and back to the lake, just to keep Tami from crying into her camera lens.

She put the battery in and added the lens extension.  We sat on the point while she took a million thousand a few dozen pictures.

When we got home, she settled at her computer with a silly grin on her face.  B and I were playing bowling on the Wii when we heard that bad word again.

“Now what?” I asked.

“The pictures are all blurry!  There isn’t a good one in the bunch!  What am I doing wrong?”

I ran to get David before poor Tami had a total melt down.  B and Cookie hid behind the couch.  When David showed Tami what she was doing wrong, she reached for her coat and boots.   I grabbed my scarf.

“It’s okay Maxx, you don’t have to come,” she said, blowing her nose in a hankie.

“But I want to!”

So we trudged down to the lake again.  Thank goodness those eagles were still there, ’cause I don’t know what Tami would have done if they weren’t.   An hour later and she was all smiles again!

“Whoa!” I said, looking over her shoulder at the computer screen, “those pictures are gorgeous!”

“It just takes patience,” she said.

Uh-huh.   Whatever you say, Tami . . . whatever you say.

What a beautiful day!

Hey, Maax here!

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I was heading up to the house today to see if Tami wanted to go for a walk, and it looked like she had the same idea!

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Great minds think alike!!

“Heading to the lake?” I asked.

“Where else, big guy?” she said, patting my antler.

So we started down the main road, and tromped into the middle of the playing field.  Tami checked the seasonal sites on both sides of the field

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before we walked under the basketball  hoop into the woods. As always, Cookie had to be in the lead

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She’s such a five year old!

Tami stopped a lot  ’cause she said she wanted to take pictures.  She thought I couldn’t tell, but she was really getting winded from the wicked bad cold she has.  I asked her if she wanted to go back, but she really wanted to see if the eagles were down at the point.

When we first stepped into the woods, four huge ravens started squawking and shrieking.  They swooped low over us

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and landed on a branch where they kept taunting us.  They didn’t worry me at all . . . really!  But Cookie was so freaked out, she ran back to walk next to Tami.

“Never mind them,” Tami said.  “They’ll stop.”

It was so pretty outside today.   The sky was a bright blue, and the sun was shining down.

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The animal prints above came all the way across from the beaver hut to the campground point.  Then it followed  our marked trail alongside the lake and up  into the 20’s.  Tami tried to take a picture of the prints so she could look it up, but they just looked like blobs in the snow.  They weren’t big like mine, so they weren’t moose.  But they didn’t look like Cookie’s either, so they weren’t from a dog. I guess they could have been from one deer, but deer usually travel together, don’t they?

When we got to the point, Tami called Cookie back off the ice and made her sit.  “I thought I heard the eagle cry,”  she said.  We stood quietly,  looking up and down the lake.   Tami even used the telephoto lens.  We saw some ice fisherman down by the state park.  We saw some snow mobilers out on the lake.

But we didn’t see the eagles.

“Did you hear that?” Tami asked.

“That squeaky, squawky sound?” I said.

We listened some more.

“Um, Tami?”

She held up a hand.  “Shhhhhh!  I still hear it.”

“But Tami-”

“Maax! What?”

You’re making the squeaky, squawky sound.  When you breathe.”

Tami just looked at me for a minute, and when she squeaked again, she started giggling  . . . which made her cough . . . which made her decide it was time to head for home.   We took the path alongside the lake that lead us out of the woods across from site 29, and we walked up the hill through the 30’s

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Tami’d like to go out tomorrow too.  I sure hope her cold is better, and not worse!