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Neighborhood Eagle, 2


In March a year ago, I posted a photo of an eagle I spotted on the north end of Foster Island, a leisurely 15-minute walk north of our house. As I said then,

it’s not entirely news that there are eagles from time to time in our neighborhood, but when I see one, I still get excited. … We are fortunate to live close to Seattle’s Washington Park Arboretum … . Foster Island is its northernmost portion … [with] a clearing on the edge of the island, on the shoreline of Union Bay, with an outlook across Lake Washington to the east, the Montlake Cut (an artificial waterway with a drawbridge) dividing the north and south sides of Seattle to the west, the university to the northwest, and the Laurelhurst neighborhood to the northeast. The northernmost tall tree on the east side of the clearing is the eagle hangout.

This afternoon, I was just approaching the clearing from the south when I heard a rustle in the trees to the right and saw two large birds taking flight, emerging from a tree and flying right to left just ahead and above me. As their path took them straight ahead, I could see that they were bald eagles.

Arriving at the water’s edge, another hundred yards north, I surveyed the scene, but there was no evidence of their presence. Then I wandered around a bit, reaching the shore to the west just in time to spy a large bird approaching, not more than 20 yards above the water’s surface. A couple of wing flaps, glide, two more flaps, glide. It was a ways out, and I didn’t want to get excited about an approaching eagle that would turn out to be a gull. But sure enough, as it drew nearer, it became more and more eagle like, until it gained height on reaching land, passed by with full eagle features, and landed back in the tree from which it had taken off three minutes earlier.

I headed back to the tree, pulled out my iPhone, and took a lame series of photos, one of which you can see above. The blob almost dead center is the eagle, sitting almost exactly in the spot that was home to the eagle I photographed last year.

There’s no sign of a nest. Perhaps this is the same pair that nests a few hundred yards to our east, with the tree serving as their Union Bay fishing base.

I’ll be watching for them.

Categories: Birds
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