Sunday, January 11, 2015

Bald Eagle on ice

I went up to Inwood Hill Park for the first time this year. There was a report of Canvasback ducks yesterday, and it's generally a good place for winter waterfowl--last year I had Long-Tailed Duck, White-Winged Scoter, and Greater Scaup there.

Today, the first thing I saw when I went to the Hudson shore at the end of Dyckman Street was this:

Ed Gaillard: birds &emdash; Bald Eagle, Hudson River at Dyckman Street
Bald Eagle, chillin' on the Hudson

That's an adult male Bald Eagle standing on an ice floe drifting up the river with the tide, eating a fish. Amazing.

Inwood Hill is actually a pretty good place to spot Bald Eagles, but usually they're soaring over the cliffs in New Jersey, not sitting in the middle of the river.

Presently, some Great Black-backed Gulls started investigating the scene.

Ed Gaillard: birds &emdash; Bald Eagle and Great Black-Backed Gull, Hudson River at Dyckman Street
the eagle is not too impressed with this punk gull

You'll notice the eagle is not vastly larger than that juvenile-plumage Great Black-Backed; that's why I surmise he's a male. Female eagles are much larger.

The eagle had devoured the whole fish except the head, and decided to leave before the party got rough.

Ed Gaillard: birds &emdash; Great Black-Backed Gulls squabbling over a fish head, Hudson River at Dyckman Street
my fish head, understand?

The gulls established some kind of pecking order, and drifted up the river nibbling away at the fish head.

Ed Gaillard: birds &emdash; Great Black-Backed Gulls on the Hudson River ice, at Dyckman Street
gulls' banquet

I saw nothing else of note, but who needs more?

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