Re: Finding other birds while watching the eagle nest

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Re: Finding other birds while watching the eagle nest

I was looking through this group of pictures again.  I’m really starting to enjoy finding other birds when the eagles aren’t around.  Yesterday, my wife & I were riding our bikes north on SW 185th Way & I saw a bird I had never noticed before.  From your pictures below, I think it might have been a swallow-tailed kite.  Also when we were out riding on Sunday we saw a couple of fairly small, slender herons of some kind wading in the standing water in the open field between SW 145th Ave & I-75, just south of Pembroke Gardens Mall.  They were both solid black on top & white underneath.  I looked that one up on & I think it was a Black-crowned Night Heron.  Unfortunately, I didn’t have my camera ready either of those times.  I’m going to start carrying it with me all the time now.  
I also went over to the eagle’s nest both Saturday & Sunday mornings for a little while & I didn’t see or hear any of the eagles either time.  I did see a mocking bird acting like a roadrunner running across the street but no eagles.  Getting to know all these different kinds of birds is really interesting.
Tom Sease
Sent: Sunday, April 14, 2013 5:14 AM
Subject: Finding other birds while watching the eagle nest
One of my projects has been keeping watch over a Bald Eagle nest in neighboring Pembroke Pines. Over five breeding seasons, since 2008, I have collected information about their breeding activities. Dozens of other nest watchers who have an interest in protecting their habitat and learning about the eagles' behavior contribute their ground observations to my Pembroke Pines Eagle Nest Watch FORUM, and I compile the data to obtain a broader picture of their breeding biology. Here is a spreadsheet and a table comparing milestone events in each breeding cycle.

Watching an eagle at its nest can be like watching grass grow. Yet, sometimes subtle behavioral changes can signal important events, such as the laying of the first egg and its hatching. Although our attention may be focused on the eagle, we are not oblivious to other happenings.

Once a hummingbird appeared at the nest and perched right in front of an eagle as it was incubating. It was so interesting to ponder the difference in size between these two extremes that I totally forgot that I had a camera! Another time, an Osprey angrily followed an eagle that was carrying a fish to the nest site. Undoubtedly, the eagle had stolen its meal. Rather than flying directly to the nest, the eagle circled and flew off out of sight, emerging a few minutes later with the fish but without the Osprey.

However, I was lucky enough to capture some unexpected scenes. Most recently was an encounter between several Fish Crows and a Merlin, just one day after the single eaglet had fledged and disappeared. The crows were harassing one of the adult eagles as it was roosting near the nest. I interpreted this a a possible attempt to distract the eagle so that others of the flock could steal remains of prey that the adult had left in the nest to attract the missing youngster.

The crows repeatedly dived down just over the eagle's head whenever the eagle was occupied with preening.

Fish Crow harasses eagle 3-20130328

Fish Crow harasses eagle 2-20130328

The eagle seemed only mildly disturbed.
Bald Eagle roosting 7-20130328
Just after I photographed one of the crows there was a rush of wings from behind me.
Fish Crows 20130328
A Merlin was in full pursuit of the crow. I must apologize for the poor quality of my photos as the light was harsh and I did not have time to switch my shutter settings.
Merlin chases crow 20130328
The crow headed for the Merlin's favorite roosting place, but had to yield its perch under attack.
Merlin chases crow 2-20130328

Merlin chases crow 3-20130328

The crow actually started out after the Merlin!
Crow vs Merlin 20130328
The battle went on for several minutes, the crow intent on returning to the falcon's favored roost.
Merlin chases crow 4-20130328

Crow vs Merlin 2-20130328

Finally the crows relented and the Merlin settled down.Merlin in flight 3-20130322

Merlin 2-20130328

A couple of days before, a Cattle Egret stole my attention as it chased after Halloween Pennant dragonflies. The egret stealthily crept up on an insect (Click on the image to see the location of its prey).
Cattle Egret hunting Halloween Pennants 2-20130322
Success! (Note that the egret has pinkish-orange breeding plumes).
Cattle Egret hunting Halloween Pennants 20130322

Cattle Egret hunting Halloween Pennants 4-20130322

Other incidental sightings of note include this Swallow-tailed Kite that passed directly over the eagle nest.Swallow-tailed Kite 20100302
A pair of Red-shouldered Hawks courted on a tall light fixture nearby.Red-shouldered Hawks 20130401
A dark morph Short-tailed Hawk, ready to pounce upon any unsuspecting smaller bird  disguised itself by soaring in a flock of vultures.
Short-tailed Hawk dark morph 20121202
A Sharp-shinned Hawk raced overhead.
Sharp-shinned Hawk 20091206
A flock of Cedar Waxwings once appeared against a rainy sky.Cedar Waxwing (Bombycilla cedrorum) BW 20100222
A Palm Warbler visited as I watched the nest, up close and personal.
Palm Warbler 20120312
Flocks of long-legged waders, such as these Wood Storks, flew overhead.
Storks over eagle nest 20100214
A colony of Monk Parakeets occupied a nest on a light pole across the street from the nest.
Monk Parakeet 20090109
An oddity was this Northern Mockingbird with a badly deformed bill. It was singing vigorously as I took its picture.
Mockingbird With Deformed Bill 20090405
A Gray Squirrel tight-roped across in front of the eagle nest.
Squirrel in front of eagle nest 20120312
Some of the sightings must be classified as "un-natural."


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