Today we watched Bald Eagles along the Merrimack River in Newburyport and Amesbury, MA. The Massachusetts Audubon Society put together its fifth annual eagle festival.
There were activities for kids and families, but we went just to see eagles along the river. Naturalists were stationed at 5 different locations, so if there were eagles around, we had help finding them.
Lucky for us, it was fairly warm out (the high 30's, about 4C) with little wind. So we weren't too cold!
In the morning we saw juvenile eagles from Lowell's Boat Shop, where custom dories and skiffs (wooden boats) have been made since 1793.
Plus, an exciting eagle fly by with 2 adult eagles and a juvenile while we stood on Deer Island.
kleptoparasitic, meaning they will steal food from each other or from other animals. They eat fish, carrion, birds and mammals.
The adults flew back to their perch on Eagle Island while the juvenile flew over our heads.
It takes juveniles about 5 years to develop the distinctive white head and tail of an adult bald eagle.
We beat the rush for lunch at Michael's Harborside.
After lunch we made quick stops at Joppa Flats and Cashman Park - no eagles, but lots of shorebirds.
We spent quite a while watching a great blue heron, several goldeneyes, and a Northern Harrier from the parking lot of Ferraz Shawmut (which was open for the eagle festival....but which would normally not be open to the public). We had brief glimpses of a juvenile eagle at that site.
When we first arrived, a juvenile eagle landed on a branch of white pine over the river. The branch was bouncing up and down under the eagle's weight.
Just after I asked Jim how much longer we would stay, the eagle took off, flew across the river, touched the water quickly with its talons and pulled up a fish.
It landed on a piece of ice in the river and fortunately the tide was heading out so the ice was heading right toward us. As the eagle tore apart the fish, the ice got closer and closer to us.
After it finished eating, it took off and roosted in the trees again.
There's something about an eagle. My heart beats faster whenever I see one. They're spectacular birds.
We're already making plans to go back to Newburyport for more eagle viewing on our own. (I was so into the eagles that I didn't even stop at Loom with a View for a yarn fix.)
And, of course, we'll go back to the Eagle Festival next year!!
Map of the eagle festival (Shows good eagle viewing locations)
19 hours ago