Some odd avian activity has been taking place at the reservoir outside my office. Double-crested Cormorants are frequent here, often in huge numbers. But I was taken aback at the huge flock, well over a hundred, clustered on the concrete rim of the reservoir. This gathering was curious not only for its awkward multitudes, but for its unexpected bookends. The cormorants were flanked on one side by a tall Great Blue Heron, presumably the one I see here on a regular basis. On the other side, however, was a pair of immature Bald Eagles rooting through the leaf litter collected on the rim. Now I do spot the occasional bald eagle around here, but never more than one at a time and never on the ground. The sight reminded me of viewing eagles perched on floating slabs of ice in Alaskaâ€™s glacially-cool Prince William Sound.
The scene was surprisingly serene for a few minutes. Canada Geese and Ring-billed Gulls filled in among the cormorants while a lone Osprey wheeled overhead. Then one of the eagles got ornery. The big, big bird inched ever closer to the cormorant crew and at every approach, ten or twenty of the creeped-out crow-ducks would peel off and plunge into the water. Perhaps unwilling to allow its companion all the fun, the other eagle took to the air and chased the entire flock of cormorants away. It even harried the heron, which squawked its protest as it lumbered off. Then the eagle returned to the rim, joined only by its second to indulge in some arrogant preening.
Two eagle sightings in two weeks… I wonder what winter is going to look like this year.