Stéphane’s Blog for June 03, 2011

Walking With Dragonflies!

In June, when hot weather finally arrives at Cabot Head, the dragonflies come out in force. And walking back after the net checks, it is like walking with dragonflies: they fill the air, dozens of them, sometimes even hundreds of them, so many that it seems they keep you company as you walk back to the banding lab. It is nice!

This morning, attracted by a commotion of gulls, I saw the Bald Eagle swimming! Yes, swimming! It was doing the breast stroke, head high up over the water, tail and lower belly fully in the water. It was making good distance toward the shore, no doubt help by my silent encouragement (swim, eagle, swim). I suspected that it had caught a prey to big for lift off, so I gave it time to reach the shore, dry out, and start eating, before I went back to check out on it (it swam past a small point). Sure enough, it was there, on the shore, proud and regal, gobbling big chunks of red meat, while clouds of feathers fluttered around. Still later on, I went to the crime scene to determine what it was:to my surprise, another cormorant!! The eagle has consumed the legs, most of the back, and the entrails. The breast muscles were still intact then. In the afternoon, the cormorant had been picked clean: neck and breast were gone, only scraps of meat remained…

If I were a cormorant, I would be cautious around here. And I think the cormorants know that they have to be careful: yesterday, I was watching a cormorant in the basin with a big fish. I was waiting to see how it will eat it. There was a gull nearby, just watching. Suddenly, the cormorant let the fish go and took off! What?! Sure enough, the Bald Eagle did a big swoop above where the cormorant was before going to its favourite perch!

Stéphane

PS: I forgot to mention the immature Peregrine Falcon of 2 days ago, seen in the same afternoon than the Goshawk and Great Horned Owl…

Posted in STATION NOTES / BLOG

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