East Texas Naturalist Blog

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Eaglet Update - Trying to Stay Cool over Lake O' the Pines

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Trudging in to the backside of Lakeside Park over the weekend, gear in tow. . . I hear the WHOOSH of a pair of very large wings.  Without a second to spare, I am able to grab my camera and get a shot of an immature Bald Eagle as it flies from the tree, sails over Brushy Creek, and crosses over the top of the dam.  High in the frame though it is, I was just lucky to get a focused image.  Can I be sure that it is one of the eaglets we watched as hatchlings to fledglings earlier this year?  No.  Do I believe that it probably is?  Yes!  

We were able to check the island where the nest is last week, and saw one of the parents hiding in the shade of the pine needles.  This insufferable heat is apparently hard on our feathered friends, too.  They are not any more likely than we are to be baking in the hot afternoon sun.  As we watched for a minute, I caught a glimpse of an immature eagle in the dense pine thicket.  As the heat lets up and we transition to fall and all the blessings that come with that marvelous time of year - cooler days being only one of them - I believe we will see our first-year eaglets, Liberty and Freedom, as they soar over this beautiful body of water we are so privileged to call home.  Bring it on.  

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Eaglet Update - Independence

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As we had hoped they would, Liberty and Freedom are staying close to the nest - and to each other - as they gain independence and learn to fend for themselves.  When you look at these big, strong birds, it is hard to imagine that they were hatched the first week of March! 

As immatures, they are harder to spot because they blend into the surroundings easily; what stands out are their very powerful and bright yellow talons.  It has been so amazing to be able to witness the very attentive parents nurturing and watching over these two, and it's encouraging to see the Bald Eagle population increase at Lake O' the Pines. We've had more sightings on the Big Cypress River, as well, which may be one of the positive effects of all the extra water this past year.  

The coolest thing is that Freedom and Liberty will mature and grow and stay in this area, and one day we may be able to watch them raise their families.  In the meantime, we'll share photos as they hunt and soar and thrive over Lake O' the Pines, adding to a community that is simply awe-inspiring!

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Eaglet Update - Flying Lessons

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At last check, both Liberty and Freedom were flying well and becoming independent. In fact, we were able to watch Liberty eat a rather sizeable fish that he'd caught on top of a stump. He pulled and picked at it, and during all of the adjusting to stay atop, he dropped a large portion over the side into the water.  He watched it fall and as he looked around, you could just imagine from the expression what he was thinking!  Meanwhile, Freedom was closer to the nest, and both parents were nearby.  We left for a while, and when we circled back by before sunset, Liberty and Freedom were sitting side by side and shoulder to shoulder, close to the nest. What a heartwarming sight! 

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Michael
Oh, they grow up fast. I think Liberty looks just like his dad, sans the white feathers.
Monday, 30 May 2016 20:53
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Photos From Today's Limp in the Woods

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Still having gout issues but it was just too beautiful today to stay inside.  So, I put the Nikon D800 on the tripod with the Nikon 200-500 lens, stuck the D3300 with the Nikon 105 Micro in the holster on my belt and limped off the the woods.  

If anyone saw me, I know I must have been a sight to behold with the tripod extended and that big lens hanging down as I very slowly limped to the woods.  You really didn't have to look close to see that it was a bit painful, but I didn't care.  Woods . . . 

I got to my little clearing where I have the lake on one side (under the trees), a small creek in front of me and a path going uphill into the deep woods in front of that.  Nice spot.  I usually just lean back against a big oak tree and before long the birds forget that I am there.  

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Eaglet Update - An Empty Nest

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As storm clouds were moving in and the sky was getting dark, we were able to make a quick check of the nest one day last week.  It was disconcerting because for the first time, we were only able to see one eaglet.  We thought we could also hear Liberty, but were not sure. Both parents were perched and watching from a nearby branch.  Freedom was shrieking, alone in the nest, and I believe that we witnessed one of her first flights.  Seemingly uncomfortable, and as if being coaxed, she finally flew to a nearby dead pine tree, mouth open and screeching the whole way.  Mom followed and sat on the other side, as if to offer moral support. Nature in action is such a beautiful thing.  

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Michael
First, I want to thank you for letting me be a part of the eagle watch. I loved the times I went with you and got photography Lib... Read More
Sunday, 22 May 2016 12:52
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