“Eagle!” my content advisor (as he likes to go by) calls out. I look out the window in time to see the adult eagle swoop down to the river. Fumbling with my camera, I watch it land briefly on the rocks, pick something out of the river and continue flying upriver.
Keeping my eye on him I get my lens cap off, turn on the camera and get out the door onto our deck overlooking the Alsea River near the Oregon Coast. He landed! The “eagle has landed”; to borrow a phrase from my childhood.
I hear another eagle chirp every minute or so; like a juvenile keeping in close contact with a parent who has food. And, sure enough…here comes the kid with a hollow leg.
Then another adult flew in to greet the two!
It happened too quick to get a photo of all 3 eagles together. The camera doesn’t always win when I have to make a split-second choice between watching wildlife and photographing it. The two adults flew off together and the young one stayed on the rock. I couldn’t tell if the parent finished eating or left something for Junior.
Bald Eagles get their adult plumage in about 5 years. This one looks like it is beginning to get its white head feathers.
The fog was so thick this morning that I could hardly see across the Alsea River near the Oregon Coast. Then I heard an elk call from a calf. They sound like a weaker version of the adult cow. So I looked and saw one or two elk making their way across the field making calls to each other like a sonar tracking system. Then the rest of the herd appeared as the fog lightened a little.
At first I thought this was a mallard hen. But I’ve never seen a mallard dive underwater and swim. This one dove several times in the tidewater of the Alsea River. Watch the video and tell me if you think this is a mallard. A still photo of her is below the link to the video.
The Merganser chicks’ wings are developing. They aren’t big enough to fly yet but they can dive and they look like they are flying under water.
Mama Merganser is on the left in the next photo. Compare her wings, which include a white patch, to her chicks. They’ve had their nap and are now ready to get back to business.
Before this family landed on the rocks of the Alsea River, Mama Merganser was chasing something in the river. I couldn’t see what it was but 2 Mallards also came from across the river quacking at the same thing. Whatever it was never came back. The Mallards didn’t even have chicks with them. I thought it was cool that they joined forces with Mama Merganser.
With as many predators who love the tender merganser veal I’m always impressed by the number of chicks a mom is able to raise. This mom has eleven chicks and it is probably due to their strict obedience to her.
Last week I was nervous about seeing these two nutria being so friendly on the river bank. Mind you, nutria have never done anything personally against me. But I know they can cause erosion problems and we don’t need any of that on the Alsea River!
So, when I saw THIS today I was REALLY disappointed.
Nutria were brought here from southern South America to control unwanted aquatic vegetation. Their average lifespan is 3 years in the wild. A female can get pregnant as early as 3 months and can have almost 3 litters per year. Predators of adult nutria include coyotes, domestic dogs, and humans. Great horned owls, foxes, great blue herons, hawks, eagles, and raccoons prey on the young.