Sunday, November 4, 2007

North Quabbin Gate 35 11/4/07

9 Members of the Forbush Bird Club walked in Gate 35 in New Salem for 2 1/2 ,miles into Petersham concentrating on eagles and watefowl.

We had nice looks at Bald Eagles (4 adults 1 juv.), perched in trees, soaring on high winds and one that dramatically swam for approx. 200 meters in the water to drag a large fish onshore. One member noted an eagle bathing, but it turned to be an adult Bald doing "the -not quite like Mark Spitz in "72"- butterfly" stroke in the choppy water. I had read accounts of Bald Eagles capturing large prey, in a few cases fish and one of a Common Loon, and unable to regain flight would swim it into shore rather than releasing the catch. I had expected the fish, once the eagle reached shore, to be larger (like a tuna) but it appeared to be perhaps 2 feet ish. Once reaching shore it was quickly joined a few more Bald Eagles, an adult and Juv.

I have included a few distant and very fuzzy images below:

Bald Eagle "on the down stroke" lifting its body from the water.


"keeping its head above water"
"reaching forward"

After "suffering" thorugh my distant grainy photos, here is a link to some better swimming eagle photos, I found on the internet, from Alaska. This Alaskan bird's fish was similar in size to the fish the above quabbin eagle hauled in:

http://www.ketchikanphotos.com/Wildlife/Bald-Eagle-swimming.html

Other hilights included a Ruddy Duck, 2 Bufflehead, 12 Common Loons, 4 Horned Grebes, 5 Red-necked Grebes and a Black Bellied Plover.

1 comment:

PA-Birder said...

Tom,
In my travels, I once saw 20+ Bald Eagles perched around a dumpster outside of a McDonalds on the aleutian island of Adak (at the time there was a Naval Air Station there). It was poignant for me to see our "National Symbol" scavenging the trash of a fast food joint that in some ways is very symbolic of the American Lifesytle.
Vern