Sunday, February 15, 2015

The Bald Eagle of Sweet Springs

I was at the Sweet Springs overlook this morning focused on the dark rufous head of an Eurasian Wigeon, a seldom seen winter migrant, when suddenly the shore birds, who had been peacefully feeding in the mud, took flight.  A mature Bald Eagle (photo by Roger Zachery) had catapulted out from his/her hidden perch in a large Eucalyptus on the edge of the bay. (expand below photo - perch noted by yellow arrow)  The Eagle soared low over the Bufflehead and Teal who did not seem the least bit concerned that a fierce predator was passing overhead.
 The Eagle was focused on a lone Eared Grebe.  As it neared the Grebe, the Eagle, preparing for his dive, circled to gain altitude, then he/she dove, but the delicate Grebe sensing danger plunged under the water, and just in the nick of time.

This magnificent predator was not to be defeated by a mere Grebe.  Circling and diving was repeated several times with no success.  Eventually the Eagle headed back to his/her perch.  About 10 minutes later, I had the pleasure of watching a repeat performance.   My conclusion from this observation -   the little Eared Grebe did not want to end end up as a Bald Eagle's breakfast.