Saturday, February 4, 2012

Chasing Upstream After Eagles

When my friend Sue and I agreed to meet today at Moreau Lake State Park, we didn't know where we might hike.  All we knew was that it was a gorgeous day and we wanted to be outside under that perfectly clear, radiant blue sky, preferably on a trail in the park.  But after we got talking with park staffers and heard reports of eagles feeding on a deer carcass up near Hadley on Stewart's Pond, that's where we headed instead. 

We hadn't even left the park, though, speeding along the Hudson River on Spiers Falls Road, when Sue called out, "There's an eagle on that island!"   Of course, we pulled over to get a good look.  Can you see it, perched in a tree out there?

Here's a little closer look, thanks to my camera's zoom.  Not a very clear shot, but at least you can tell it's an eagle.  We tried to sneak a little closer, but the eagle took flight and disappeared downstream.

So we continued on our way north, finding the Hudson again at Corinth and following the river upstream to Hadley, where the Hudson meets the Sacandaga River.  We then followed the Sacandaga upstream to Stewart's Pond, where, sure enough, we saw that deer carcass out on the ice.  No eagles were feasting on it, though.  Breakfast must have been over.

We got out of the car and walked the length of the Stewart's Pond Dam, a massive earthen dam set among truly stunning scenery of river, forest,  and mountains.  We were hoping to catch another glimpse of the rollicking cloud of Snow Buntings our passing had scared up from the grass, but somehow they'd managed to disappear completely.  We couldn't miss the large raven that flew right over our heads, fanning its wedge-shaped tail and croaking its greeting, and then Sue's eagle eyes saw another large dark bird soaring above the distant tree line -- a large dark bird with snow-white head and tail, our second eagle sighting of the morning!

Our next stop was a few miles further upstream to another large dam at Conklinville, above which the vast Sacandaga Reservoir extends for miles, rimmed by conifer forests and rugged mountains.   We never saw any more eagles here, but that didn't stop our spirits from soaring.  Who wouldn't feel uplifted, surrounded by such natural splendor?

Sue works afternoons, so as midday approached we headed home, stopping in Lake Luzerne to have lunch at the Waterhouse Restaurant. (Very good!)  We got chatting with the restaurant owner, who, when he learned what we'd been up to, told us of many eagle sightings along the Hudson north of Lake Luzerne.  Sue and I looked at each other and grinned.  We didn't even need to say it:  There was our next adventure!


catharus said...

You ladies are having too much fun, ;-)


Unknown said...

Just beautiful! I love it when one excursion suggests another.

Virginia said...

Sooo amazing to see eagles! I saw two from the train along the Hudson heading to NYC. All the better that you actually got a picture!