Golden Eagles in Yakima River Canyon
Slickery falling snow turned around my attempt to bird the Wenas area today. Elected to retreat east along North Wenas Road where a Northern Shrike was encountered on a phone wire. Decided to head up the Yakima River Canyon. Not too far up, you understand, as the Kittitas County line comes up pretty quickly.
My vision butted heads with a scattered group of about 20 Big Horn Sheep. After admiring the ungulates, my eye drifted skyward. From the north, a large bird came into view drifting downstream high above the icy river. It quickly became apparent that it was dangling a stick at least twice the length of its body. Reminded me of a refueling hose off the back of a military airborne tanker. As it got closer, I could see that the bird (suspected eagle at that point) had both legs fully extended. With the wind kicking up, the bird was in a slow glide mode and I felt the show of leg was more showing off than the result of the weight of the stick...maybe small branch would be more descriptive. A show and tell moment when the shower is so proud of his object that he wants to drag out the telling as slow and long as possible. You know, just like one of my posts.
Eventually, the now obvious eagle dropped below the sky line, skimmed across a backdrop of basalt and stopped. Switching from bins to scope, I had a bit of difficulty locating the stopping point. Taking my eye away from the eyepiece, I picked up a second eagle coming from the opposite direction and then landing in the same spot. Eventually, I got my scope on the nest where the pair were admiring the new addition to the nest. A couple of content head bobs, maybe a little chit chat about what was needed next. Perhaps a bit of greasewood for the wall suggests one. No, two rough and thorny the other states. A quality piece of rabbitbrush would do nicely. And then they were off, one departing for the Home Depot of canyon nest materials and the other a tad later to search the bunting material at the outdoor Toys"R"Us' nestling section.
Such is life on a blustery day in the canyon.
Combing the Canyon
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