Thursday, April 17, 2008

Bald Eagle Nest, Great Marsh, Mason Neck NWR

Yesterday, Fred and I went for our usual walk at the Great Marsh Trail, Mason Neck National Wildlife Refuge. This is a great place, there's about a mile walk in through a hardwood forest where we've seen pileated woodpeckers. At the end is a large observation deck overlooking the park with comfortable benches. We've spent many a lazy hour sitting on the deck, letting the birds come to us.

Yesterday, an osprey caught a fish near us, with a big splash. He or she lifted with the fish, flew in a big circle then changed direction and flew right over our heads! Only as it passed did we notice the bald eagle in hot pursuit! We figured it must have been in one of the trees and launched when it saw the osprey with the fish.

A little later I decided to scan the treeline with my binoculars to see if there were any other eagles. I was thrilled to see one perched, so I set up my scope. As I studied the eagle, I realized that there was a nest below and to the right! Later, a second eagle (perhaps the one chasing the osprey?) flew in and perched a little to the left.

Below, a picture of the two eagles and the nest, followed by a picture of the nest itself (note the eagle guano on the branches). One chick can be seen above the nest between the fork.

A view of Great Marsh from the observation platform. The eagle nest is located along the treeline near the middle of the picture. The small branch pointing straight down is aimed almost directly at the nest location.

We'll keep you posted on the eagle's nest.
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1 comment:

Larry said...

That's great! I liked the way you zeroed in on the eagles and Ospreys in your post with nice descriptions of your observations.