Stéphane’s Posting for Oct. 15/10

Soaring with Eagles!

Bathed in the golden light of a seemingly endless Indian Summer, leaves are shimmering under an infinite blue sky. Another beautiful day at Cabot Head. In mid-morning, there suddenly were 3 big, black birds soaring over Middle Bluffs. The usual Bald Eagles, we thought, but nonetheless dutifully checked with bins and spotting scope. And indeed, there were 2 adult Bald Eagles, showing off their white tail and big head of theirs. But with them was a young Golden Eagle! The broad black terminal band on a white tail was the quick giveaway. A smaller head and an uniformly dark brown body and wings with 2 conspicuous white patches on the wings easily confirmed the identification. Both 3 eagles of 2 different species were soaring peacefully together, slowly drifting toward West Bluff.

There, the young Golden Eagle perched on top of the cliff, which changed everything: the Bald Eagles started right away to harass it! When an adult Bald Eagle dives at you, you quickly go back up in the air, letting go of your perch. The Golden Eagle was attacked by the Bald Eagles, taking turn at it, and rapidly joined by these tricksters of Common Ravens. Two of them decided they should close rank with the Bald Eagles in mobbing the Golden young one. It worked as after some chases and sharp turns and dives, the Golden Eagle disappeared below the tree line.

It was an amazing sight, these 3 eagles soaring together. It made me wonder, though, where this Golden Eagle came from. Given the reluctance of soaring raptors to cross big bodies of water, I wonder if it dared to cross the main channel, ~2km wide, of the chain of islands between Manitoulin Island and Bruce Peninsula. Maybe. I’ve seen Eagles coming from Georgian Bay quite some distance from the shore…