Thursday, January 28, 2010

Snowy Woods, with Eagles

"Whose woods these are I think I know . . . ." With the deepest sense of gratitude, I sometimes can't believe my good fortune that these beautiful woods are mine. And yours. In fact, they belong to anyone who chooses to wander them, because they are part of Moreau Lake State Park and thus they are open to all.

These particular woods are near the Sherman Island boat launch, where I stopped today to see what was happening on the river. The Hudson here is still wide open, and a group of ducks was paddling around over by the far shore. They were way too far away for me to ID, except to make a guess that they might have been male Mergansers, because of the quantity of white on their sides. At first I thought they were chunks of floating ice, but then one of them took to the air!

What a day it was to be wandering the woods, with fresh soft snow falling gently and silently all around, the downy flakes resting on every needle and twig, tingling my cheeks when I raised my face to catch them on my tongue. Here they have caught on a web hanging over the water, creating what looks like a necklace strung with diamonds and stars.

The snow gods must have heard my prayers, for the snow kept falling thicker and faster, until the very air was white. I tried again and again to capture a photo of the air filled with flakes, but all I could get were some streaks. Then I hit the flash button quite by mistake and Lo! the photo was spangled with all these white dots. They don't look exactly like snowflakes, but I thought they looked kind of nice, especially with the beautiful forest behind.

I next drove over to park headquarters, passing Mud Pond on the way, and almost skidded on the snow-covered road when I noticed a dark shape perched on the deer carcass out on the pond. It was too far away (and obscured by falling snow) to clearly discern with my naked eyes, but I aimed my camera at the dark spot and zoomed the lens as far as it would go. Here's what the camera saw. Looks like a Bald Eagle to me. (This underlining appeared without my bidding, and I can't figure out how to get rid of it.)

And here's a cropped shot of the carcass and bird. Pretty blurry, I know, but at least it leaves no doubt as to what we are looking at.

And hey, here comes another eagle!

The new arrival just stands there, and the first bird seems not to take notice.

Eh! Not worth the squabble. Maybe that's what the interloper thought as it flew off again without joining the feast.

As I said before, sometimes I just can't believe how blessed I am, that these beautiful woods and the marvelous creatures who live here are there for us all to enjoy. I didn't even have to get out of my car to witness this amazing scene.


Garden Lily said...

It looks so peaceful there. We are so into "Spring" here now, it's fun to get a few more looks at "Winter" through your photos. Thanks for the tip on photographing the falling snow!

Lindsey said...

Oh wow, great shots of those eagles. :) I'm glad so many are being seen this year! :D

suep said...

we are indeed lucky, and blessed is the right word too, to have a place like that to wander in.
It's amazing what can be seen in just one day, sometimes it's too much to take in at once!
Glad you are seeing eagles now, keep an eye out for the 2 immatures I have seen at mud pond.
Great shot of the snow coming down against the trees...

Carolyn H said...

Years ago, I was up on the Chilkat River in Alaska in early December. Saw thousands of eagles. It was the funniest thing. Eagle #1 would catch a fish. Eagle #2 would steal it. Then eagle #3 stole it and then #4, 5,6,7,8 etc, until at last the biggest, baddest, hungriest eagle ate the fish. Your eagle #1 must have already been the biggest, baddest, hungriest one.

Ellen Rathbone said...

I love the snowflake necklace! And look - plenty of eagles for you!

Jacqueline Donnelly said...

Garden Lily: Spring?!! I'm afraid ours is a long way off. We haven't yet had our fill of winter. Thanks for stopping by.

Lindsey: I thought you'd be happy to see them!

suep: Lucky and blessed, as well, to have friends like you to wander these lovely woods with. I'm watching for those immature eagles.

Carolyn H: Just imagine! THOUSANDS of eagles! What a sight that must have been! We've certainly seen evidence of how pugnacious eagles can be, witness that dead Osprey I found last fall with talon punctures through its belly.

Ellen Rathbone: I loved that snow necklace too. There were similar garlands draped in every shrub along the stream. And yes, it's my lucky year for eagles.