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!

Halloween One!

What a lucky Moose I am!!

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I get to have two Halloween Parties every year!

Two!!

Once in October on the “real” Halloween, and again in August!

I think I like the August one better though – ’cause we have cool activities like Story Time and Bocci and Bubble Play and  . . .

making Lake Monsters!

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We don’t make Lake Monsters in October!

We do the usual weekend stuff too, like Arts and Crafts and water balloon slingshot and jewelry making and Horseshoes and a scavenger hunt.

Whew! That’s a lot of stuff!

But we have different things too, like blowing our whistles and marching in a Pumpkin Parade!

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and having a Witch’s Stew Eating Contest!

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(I always want to eat the stew too, but Tami won’t let me. She says it’ll get in my fur!)

We had only one glitch in the whole weekend – there was a shower at Hayride time. *heavy sigh*  But Debbie and Brooke had this really cool idea and they told all the kids to meet them at the Rec Hall.

“What are they doing?” I asked Tami.

“Creating Frankenstein Monsters,” she said. The phone rang and she picked it up.

“Frankenstein Monsters?” I cried. “Isn’t that dangerous!? I mean you know what happened to the villagers in the book, right?”  Tami shot me her pipe-down-so-I-can-hear-the-customer-on-the-phone-look.  You know the one.

So I ran to the Rec Hall, before they all did something crazy . . .

And I found this  . . .

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Boy, was I embarrassed!  They weren’t making reeeeeeal, Frankenstein Monsters.

Or were they?

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At 6:30, Tami gathered all our little campers at the office for a special announcement and some Trick or Treating rules. As usual, all we kids  heard was blah-blah-blah-blaaaaah.  All we could think about was the candy.

Just when I thought she was going to tell us all to begin- she made us pose for a photo!

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And she wasn’t done there!  She kept stopping everyone, making them pose and telling them how adorable they were . . . and clever . . . and scary . . .

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I kept whispering, “Tami! We want to go get the candy!”

But she kept saying, “Just one more!”

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Yeah. Her one more is really like a gazillion more.

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She followed us down the street, taking picture after picture after picture!

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“You’d better get back and set up the party!” I tried distracting her.

“What time is it?” she asked, snapping another photo.

“Seven o’clock,” I said.

She was off like a shot to the rec hall!  Luckily, Debbie and Brooke had everything taken care of. Whew!

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There were lots of fun games . . .

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And I got to hang out with all my little campers for a bit.

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I even got to try a game or two!

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Now, I wasn’t cheating here . . . it only loooooks like I was stepping over the line.

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There were cool prizes like spiders to scare Tami with . . .

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And vampire teeth, too!

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And we had Witch’s fingers and Goblin punch for a snack!

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Yes! I’m the luckiest moose in the world, ’cause I get two Hallowee-

What?

I get three?

Oh! Right!  We’re going to do it all again THIS weekend too!

Woo-Hoo!!

I can’t wait!

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Fiesta, Fiesta!!!

From the very first time we ever had a Fiesta Weekend, it’s been a hit!  Campers love, love, love it!!

In fact, it makes them feel like dancing . . .

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There’s so much fun packed into just a couple days.

And if you’re silly enough to take a Siesta

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you’ll miss it!

It was a mix of our usual recreation, like bubble play, bocci, kickball, story time, jewelry making . .  .

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arts and crafts, water balloon slingshot and a penny hunt in the pool.

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But mixed in with those were different activities too –

I bet you can’t guess what this one is!

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You do??

Awww – I  bet the sacks gave it away!

We had a seed spitting contest! That’s always fun!  And at Saturday Arts and Crafts, we made sombreros, Poland Spring style!

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On Saturday afternoon, everyone wore their sombreros and brought their maracas on the hayride.

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Pssst – somebody needs to show this little camper how to wear his hat . . .

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And on Saturday night . .. we had a Fiesta PARTY!!!

Debbie, Maggie, Tami and Dave planned an awesome carnival style party with tons of games like ring toss, bouncing ball, and the very difficult, very challenging stack-the-empty-cans-on-a-floating plate  . . .

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You could get a tattoo (not the real kind, I checked)  . . .

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Or throw darts to POP a balloon . . .

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All for prizes!!

You could get a Sopapilla from Debbie and Ron . . .

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*heavy sigh* I wish *I* could have got a sopapilla.  But Tami wouldn’t let me. She says I’m a messy eater, and the honey gets caught in my fur.

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And if that wasn’t enough . . . we had the bouncy house too!

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Aaaaaand, for those of you who are still saying, “is that all you got?”

We had pinatas. Four of them.

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Made right here in the campground!

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But don’t think they were easy to crack!

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They were not! But when they did . . .

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tons and tons of candy flowed out!

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We sure did have an awesome time, and I wanted it to last forever and ever and ever . . .

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But now we have to hang up our sombreros to get ready for Medieval Fairy Tale Weekend and Hope from Wind Over Wings . . .

She’s bringing her amazing raptors . . . including Skywalker. I can’t wait!

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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!

Eaglet Twins 2016

Every Spring the campers and I stand lakeside with our binoculars and cameras pointed at the eagle nest. The big question is  . . .

Is there one eaglet in there?

Or two?

I’ve been taking pictures for a little over a week now, and I kept seeing this

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and this . . .

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and this . . .

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and even this!

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And while that was all beautiful and interesting and full of inspiration . . . it wasn’t what I was looking for.

Finally, today, I saw it!

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One!

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And then . . .

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Two!!!

I’m so excited to find we have two eaglets this year!! It’s going to be fun to watch them grow.

Our Eagles Are Nesting – 2016

On Saturday, I trudged through the campground, over ice and snow to go lakeside, where I found one of the eagles  perched on the back side of the nest.

 

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As I watched, she turned to face away from me.   Then after a few moments, she cried out once, twice.

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Then she turned to poke around in the nest with her beak before slowly walking down into the nest to sit low inside it.

 

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It’s very possible I witness our eagle laying one of her eggs!

35 days from now, if all goes well, our eagle chicks will be hatching! Send good thoughts everyone!

Eagle’s Nest 2016

Look how much our eagle’s nest has grown in a year!

This was the nest last April, just before the chicks arrived.

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And here it is today, when I walked lakeside.

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They’ve added a second floor.