Totally captivated in 2007 by the live camera feed of the Hornby Island nesting Bald Eagles in B.C., I was drawn into birding and have never looked back. Thus begins my account of what I'm fortunate enough to discover each day and perhaps capture with my camera.

Unless otherwise stated, all images were taken by and are the property of Janice Melendez

Species Counts:

2014 Final Year List: 255; 2015 Year List a/o June 5, 2015: 235; Life List: 327

Friday, August 8, 2014

A True Gentleman

An unexpected yet necessary trip to Vancouver a few weeks ago evolved, at times, into an emotional pilgrimage back to areas I frequented with my uncle.  

Wonderful memories greeted me at the place where Bryce introduced me to my first Bald Eagle.

There were no joggers, no cyclists, absolutely no one, totally unheard of for this area. 

Just me and a dozen Bald Eagles in total, either on the wing or perched: 

A beautiful Northern Harrier takes a break from hunting in an open field:

Pretty Savannah Sparrows are afloat in a sea of green and white:

A windswept Savannah Sparrow poses against a western bokeh of menacing storm clouds over the mountains on Vancouver's north shore:

I re-trace my route as I return home and find the juvenile Bald Eagle still on the nest, preening and begging and scratching, a first for me:

Another nostalgic trip is made a few days later to several more of our favorite spots in Surrey. 

Glaucous-winged Gulls are tolerated enjoyed (only because they're Year Birds):

Western Sandpipers are Lifers at Boundary Bay:

A White-crowned Sparrow clings to a rock as the tide comes in...

...while the juvenile Bald Eagle clings to its nest tree... 

...while an adult Bald Eagle clings to its Golden Hour tree...

...while a Northwestern Crow clings to its Golden Hour shrubbery...

...while yet another adult Bald Eagle clings to its Golden Hour hydro pole:

My surreal week of emotions continues the next afternoon when I am gobsmacked to observe a preening adult Bald Eagle:...

The adult ignores the begging juvenile in the nest below:

I recover by having a twenty minute visit on the grass next to a napping Sandhill Crane at another spot that Bryce first took me to years ago, during my Levi's© days as we put in time ahead of my business flight back to Ontario.

No one else is on the trail.


Calling Canada Geese flying overhead awaken it...

...and it drifts off again:

Time for a snack:

Returning to the main trails, I am mobbed by Sandhills who eventually return to grazing and preening:

I explore other trails and encounter the Sandhill Cranes again when they wander out of a pond onto the trail: 

A majestic Bald Eagle quietly observes the world: 

I return home via the nest and find the adult Bald Eagle there, preening and fluffing and scratching yet again:

A few days later I'm back at the nest for a break. The adults are nowhere to be seen but the juvenile shows off its feathers while clumsily making its way along a branch: 


But not for very long, as it takes off:

Another hour to clear my head is spent with a preening parent the following day:

A beak full of feathers:

A lone feather drifts away:

This was the last time I see a parent at the nest

I head off but find it impossible to overlook the begging juvenile on a hydro pole, further along the road from the parent:

After five minutes of begging, it leaves:

This was my last view of the juvenile:

My final day in Vancouver is bittersweet as I make one last trek to our favorite haunts.

The nest tree is empty but two adults are on the roof of a barn:  

I return to my car after taking a record shot of the distant pair when one takes off and lands right next to me: 

It's not disturbed by my presence as it fluffs itself up:

A few minutes later, it's off...

...and this is my final view of the adult: 

The rest of that day did and did not go as planned, which in fact was a very good thing for me.

Thanks to the kindness of strangers, I was unexpectedly given the generous gift of their time when I was privileged to be shown wonderful things, like a young Spotted Towhee:

...a vacated nest of a Black-headed Grosbeak:

...a Steller's Jay that was mobbing a potential predator:

...the "potential predator" is an adult Barred Owl:

In the evening, a pair of young Barred Owls is easily found by following their begging calls, which commence as soon as a parent calls out to them:

Begging and begging and begging:

My most emotional Bald Eagle encounter took place during Golden Hour when a distant one was seen high up in a nest tree that I'd never noticed before:

I continue on my way when another one is found on top of a hydro pole, so I enjoy great views of it from the car... 

...and slowly, oh so slowly, I drive in a bit closer. 

It doesn't move. 

We make eye contact and exchange glances, the Bald Eagle from its perch, and me, from the inside of the car.  

It doesn't move.

I turn off the engine and do the unthinkable, I get out of the car. 

It doesn't move. 

I will never forget this Golden Hour moment: 

I say my farewells. There were many that evening...

Spectacular views of Boundary Bay with Mount Baker in the background are seen:

This is where it all began and it will continue, my love affair with Bald Eagles.

All thanks to a true gentleman, my uncle Bryce.

Here's to you both, Carol and Bryce, may you be together again.


Joyful Living said...

How truly beautiful and magical!

Unknown said...

Thanks for sharing, Janice. Loved looking at your photos and reading about your trip.