Wednesday, February 27, 2008


Okay, it’s not an ‘eagle cam’ as in moving pictures, but an ‘eagle cam’ as in a camera taking still photos of eagles. This particular camera is attached to a spotting scope, which is in turn is trained on the nest. The set-up provides for almost immediate shutter command. Of course there is the little delay of turning on the camera, adjusting it to manual focus and then setting the timer. Once that is accomplished, then finally, the coup de grâce, the moment when the magic happens at the touch of a button and—the shutter snaps. With the delay timer, sometimes it hits and sometimes it misses. Such is the life of a digital setup as it is.

Above is a photo of the eagle's nest that belongs to the pair of eagles I've been writing about.

This juvenile bald eagle rested on the branch of the Douglas fir tree to take in a bit of sunny warmth and to dry out from a likely plunge in the water after some prey. (I’m still getting used to what a 10x zoom digital camera can capture.) One more shot below...

Here's looking at you, kid...

Friday, February 22, 2008


This week has been wonderful for eagle viewing. The two eagles have been active at the nest nightly, at just about sunset. They arrive, each carrying a branch. Then the process of finding a suitable spot for each to…nest. They carefully place the branch, move back and evaluate the location. Often they’ll pick up and place the branch in another and another nook or cranny until, sometimes an hour later, they are satisfied. Then they perch, seeming to admire their craftsmanship.

We’ve recently gotten a new spotting scope thru which to take photographs. I’m still learning to use it effectively, so the first shots have been a little fuzzy. Even so, I thought it would be fun to post this shot of the two as they sat together at the top of a tree.

The eagle behavior suggests the eggs are not yet in the nest. Otherwise one eagle would remain on it at all times. I’ll be looking for that telltale sign in the next month or so.

Monday, February 18, 2008


Great blue heron. Fly away, leave your cares behind. Is it that way? I can’t imagine so…on occasion there is a heron in my yard, walking, stalking prey along the shoreline, drawing up a lanky leg to take a step, by step…until it freezes, and then STRIKES. So fast. So precise. Be quick to notice the next thing visible. It is a fish in the bill for mere seconds before the silhouette is seen moving down the slender neck. In a flash the feeding is over.

Most times the herons feed here without distraction, but on occasion, there are some. One time the heron standing so still on the shore that it could have been a sculpture, except for the blood that was visible and spreading on it’s smooth feathers. Ironically enough, there was a red-winged blackbird whose nest was close by and that blackbird wasn’t about to allow the nest to be disturbed. It was fascinating to watch as the blackbird attacked the comparatively giant heron, actually striking it over and over again. Although the blackbird had drawn blood, it must have been like a gnat bite, a mosquito pestering the giant. Eventually the heron caught its prey and moved on, leaving the blackbird to perch and sing again.

Here's another picture of an eagle soaring overhead…more info coming soon on the happy couple…

Thursday, February 14, 2008


It seems only right to comment on the topic of ‘love’, given today is Valentine’s Day. Our local love bird bald eagle couple has been active recently. They are often in or on the nest, which implied to me that they had eggs there. However, I saw them yesterday both sitting in a treetop, k-i-ss-i-n-g. Okay, maybe not literally kissing, but they did seem to nuzzle and sit ever so close to each other on the straining top branch of the tree.

According to eagles choose a mate for life. The pair equally defends the nest territory during breeding season. That is now for us in the PNW. Interestingly enough, last week I saw a mature bald eagle flying in formation with an immature bald eagle briefly. They parted ways, both soaring at almost the same height until the immature eagle flew out of sight. Perhaps there was a subtle warning given by the mature eagle…since then, I haven’t seen any other raptors in the area.

I’ll be keeping an eagle eye out, and the telescope handy, looking for signs there are eggs in the nest within the next month. Exciting times here at the Gardener’s Roost!

Sunday, February 10, 2008


What does this phrase mean to you? Does it indicate that you should look up, regain situation awareness, pay attention to that which is happening around you?

Looking through a corkscrew willow, perhaps you sense the plant reaching for the sun and crisp air. You may not be able to discern them, but small buds are there, just waiting for a little warmth to coax them forward in their quest to burst to life.

Life is evident with the ripe red rose hips. They call to various species of birds to come hither and indulge in a tasty meal. Their bold color balances the winter blue sky.

So consider being 'heads up', and take the opportunity to absorb all of nature that surrounds you.

For More Information on Pacific Northwest Native plants and for which animals they provide sustenence, see

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Garden Beds and Ice Fishing

Well friends, it has been an interesting week here at the Gardener's Roost. There has been snow, rain, more snow, some sun, and we're back to occasional rain. The transitions in the garden have been interesting to watch. The gardens are all snug in their beds, some covered by green 'floating row covers'. Gazing down and overseeing a vegetable bed are the deadheads of the cardoon. They seem to be watching over the covered plants in anticipation of the spring that will soon bring renewed growth.

But look beyond the frozen ground and you can see ice on the lake. And wait! Look closer. The most amazing thing happened. The eagle went ice fishing. It's true. While gazing at the frozen lake, I spied the eagle about to make a diving pass, diving at ice. He swooped and rose, swooped and rose, and then swooped down to a gentle landing on the ice. Once there, he peered down, seeming to yearn for a tasty morsel that lay just beneath the surface. He circled around and around the spot, leaving talon tracks that retraced themselves. He picked at the ice with his beak, appearing frustrated that he couldn’t get at the delicacies that taunted him from below. He hopped, circled, pecked, stopped, studied. Circling around again and again, he finally gave up the quest for whatever caught his watchful eye from beneath the layer of ice.

Sleep well, plants. Good fishing to you, eagles. Spring and new growth—a new cycle of life of every kind—is just a blink away.