I noted the story in the Telegraph this morning about the escaped eagle roaming Kent.
Something similar happened at the last place where we lived next to the mountain. Many bald headed eagles lived there too, some in our trees on the stream. When they are young they are brown and speckled, they do not get to be black and white until well into their second year. They are’ turned off’ by their parents to fend for themselves at a year when they are not too experienced and still learning how to be an eagle. We had one hanging around in some conifers at the top of the field. It kept trying to size up the dogs. After a few days of this I happened to notice that it kept studying Cindy, a very small JR of 10lbs. It would sit on a branch tilting its head this way and that as if trying to judge whether or not it could lift her. It could have, had it but known! Cindy realised what it was up to and instead of roaming around vole hunting in the stream walls, her usual occupation, she started walking behind me, very, very closely. Not stupid that dog! I got in the habit of throwing sticks at the tree to frighten it off and after several days it gave up and moved on to hunt dinner elsewhere. Not before time. Cindy never forgot and used to study eagles with an expert ornithological eye thereafter, having no intention of being dinner to anyone!
Some very curious birds on that piece of land, once when in the kitchen, looking out of the window as one does, I saw a bright navy blue 5′ bird fastidiously stalking and picking its way down the stream. To be fair I assumed that I had looked upon the wine whilst it was red so to speak. Nature, in my book, does not do navy blue monster birds in temperate climate unless out of a bottle or one’s imagination. Did a double and triple take, it was still blue and still 5′ tall! Time to hit the bird book, and there it was, a migratory species of incredibly rare heron on its way to Alaska. It had just stopped for lunch, obviously thought the minnows were not up to scratch or anything else comestible worth having and departed after 20 minutes never to return.
Here at the new place we do not have such exotica, however we are invaded by tundra swans. Again nearly 5′ tall they fly about in small family skeins feeding on bugs in the drowned fields. We are surrounded by flooded fields at this time of year, more like living in paddy fields. There are so many of these swans in the area, literally thousands of emigrants from the Alaskan winter cold that it is a miracle that they do not have aerial accidents and collisions. They ought to have traffic control. 500 swans in the air at once honking and tooing and froing is an incredible sight. Fortunately they do not seem to shit whilst flying or one would be at serious risk of concussion! Another month or so and they will all be off. Fortunately they do not complain to their hosts that they were made unwelcome and they want to go home, neither do they ask for repatriation! Go home under their own steam. Just the kind of refugees you want! (And are more that welcome to come again. After all they eat bugs!)