Raptorous Encounters

A pair of Bald Eagles at the Portage

It never fails, when I have no expectations of seeing anything unusual, something unexpected occurs. It began last Saturday morning when I decided to visit the Portage. I was on my way out the last leg of the trail when I encountered a perched Bald Eagle. And then a moment or two later, his mate appeared. I took way too many pictures, never having an unobstructed angle, and the birds were distant, but their immense size made up for the lack of proximity.

It also seems no matter how hard I try, I can’t manage a timely blog post. But before I belabor that point, I promise this will be short.

There’s always a bit of a let-down in the fall with the shorter days and colder weather, but the colder months bring a whole new perspective to birding and once you figure out how to stay warm enough, it’s the perfect cure for cabin fever.

When the eagles finally took off they flew north toward Ottawa Trail. I suspect they have a nesting spot somewhere or were shopping for one. I hope to see one or both of them again soon.

Also at the Portage when I first arrived, were two Red-Tailed Hawks, ushered in by Ten Crows. I have never seen so many crows at the Portage. Likely the hawks got their attention and drew them in. But I didn’t even know there were Ten Crows in the vicinity. A Mini Murder.

Ten Crows at the Portage

As it turned out, only one hawk remained to soar around for quite a while, at a reasonable distance for a few photographs. The light was poor but the flight was skillful.

On Sunday morning I went downtown to visit the Lakefront Crows and had a couple raptorous moments there too. Like this juvenile Cooper’s Hawk…and then a Peregrine Falcon.

I will return with a full report on the Lakefront Crows and other recent avian encounters. The pressure of fall passerine migration has been replaced by encroaching holiday commitments. We always seem to be in a hurry. As we rush toward the end of the year… I hope you are finding some moments of peace.

15 thoughts on “Raptorous Encounters

  1. Beautiful, Lisa. Your pics came at an unusually busy time, work-wise, and gave me some moments of “peace” while viewing. πŸ™‚

    • It was very unusual to have one relatively close overhead. Although for as many nesting pairs as there are now in the city, I suppose this could happen more frequently.

  2. What a day of celebrities! You captured such difficult to find birds in two outings. The crows in a tree is an artistic shot! Great post, Lisa. πŸ™‚

    • Thanks, H.J.! It was a day of celebrities…in a way. I met “god” on the trail at the Portage, walking in the opposite direction – none other than Doug Stotz, our local Field Museum ornithologist extraordinaire. He had not seen the crows…but he had seen all the sparrows and warblers I saw the week before, and at that point I hadn’t seen any. And then, maybe ten or fifteen minutes later, after we had each continued on our way, I met the Bald Eagles. Doug reported only one… Glad you like the crows. More to come. πŸ™‚

    • Thanks, Donna! It was all certainly serendipitous and probably had more to do with the crows than I was consciously aware. Oh those clever crows. They’ve already booked me for the Thanksgiving weekend. Lol. πŸ™‚

    • I know, right? Of course I will be visiting the Portage all winter hoping to run into them again as a pair although it’s probably unlikely. I wonder if the crows were about them too. πŸ™‚

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