Wednesday, March 18, 2009

And the Eaglets prepare for flying lessons

Our Woodlands Bald Eagles are progressively raising their "teenagers" to be good Woodlands residents. One recent warm Spring day in March, this large beautiful creature was enjoying the evening just watching over the forest. It takes many trees to support the Eagle's lifestyle. He has to have security. He seems to be quite content with the quietness about him, like a Teddy Bear. Click to see a larger view.

Up here, you have to get your exercise in the gym provided. Flying along the rim of the nest provides a means to "spread your wings and fly", but go nowhere.

Thank goodness there are such things as tree limbs, allowing a young Eaglet like me to fly a little ways.

When mama comes around, we look for food. But she watches over us to make sure we are OK and this time she brought no food.

When papa arrived at dusk, mama gave him a piece of her mind and chased him off. He didn't bring home the bacon either! And it was his turn. They got back home late and we feasted on a fish that papa brought home. What is a kid to do with parents who argue, anyway? Don't they know, we are sitting here dependent on them? Thank goodness we live in a remote spot and they are comfortable with our safety here. Sometimes, people seem to be a threat though. Tonight, we are fine. Mama and Papa are close by. I think we get a real flying lesson soon. They say we are not ready yet, but soon ... I hope ... can't wait!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Eaglets in The Woodlands

How fast do these guys grow anyway? I have seen two rather large eaglets in their nest this year. They appear black from the ground but are a dark brown. Soon we will see them flying around. So after about two months, they have grown by leaps and bounds and I would guess by their size, about two weeks from attempting to fly! Mama and papa bring various foods, from small animals to large fish for them.
One parent is always close to the nest to ward off predators or just to ensure danger is not imminent. The parents actually talk to their offspring, alerting them to danger or in other cases, what I believe to be an "all clear" message. After waiting some two hours for a glimpse of anything in the nest, I finally just gave up and started to leave. As soon as I walked away, I heard the sound - "all is clear". I turned around and one eaglet poked his head above the nest. He was looking over the area, quite interested in my departure. I reassembled my gear and quietly approached my observation point without any parental intervention. The eaglet was now more positioned over the nest, enough to compose a a few photographs, one of which I am sharing now. I almost stepped on a Brown Snake as I was watching the skies. These was taken near the end of February. Watch the skies, chances are that you will see or at least hear one or more of these majestic birds. I would also keep an eyes on the ground if out in a park or green area. Even though most snakes are not dangerous, you don't want to step on one. Almost all of them will bite, given the right circumstances.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Coming through - Red Winged Blackbird

Among several migrating species I observed today in The Woodlands, was the Red Winged Blackbird. I was not sure the bird was actually the Red Winged since there are other species and this one looked very similar to the Tricolored Blackbird of California. I am accustomed to seeing a brilliantly and distinctively colored wing on the Redwinged in the Texas valley. These birds are a bit shy. This male refused to stay out in the open. He hid in the branches of the tree so that he and I would not be able to see each other. Twice he momentarily was visible.

American Kestral Falcon in the forest

Here in The Woodlands, we do see a variety of God's creations. This Falcon is perhaps one of the most beautiful birds of prey. It is a little larger than a Blue Jay. I found this one on a creek, perched on a tree where he could see the grassy area to hunt. These birds eat a wide assortment of bugs and small animals and even birds. This is a male, exceptionally colorful. I stopped in my tracks when I saw this bird. His flight actually clued me in to his presence. I have photos of him in two locations. I preferred his perch among the leaves of the American Holly tree (in this setting).
His hunting grounds on the creek in The Woodlands.