Date: 2/8/19 6:07 pm
From: Karen Bearden (via carolinabirds Mailing List) <carolinabirds...>
Subject: Shelley Lake and Re: Our recent drone conversations and an incident...

Joe and I walk to Shelley Lake through our neighborhood and greenway often. VERY upset to read about Clyde and Phil’s experience today by the Bald Eagle nest!!!

Last year they put up signs on the Millbrook side of the road, up on the dam side, specifically saying no drones around the eagle nest. They also eventually marked off the corner where the nest is located with yellow tape and signs. Think it was the NC Wildlife Commission. I will definitely follow up and ask them to get those signs back up ASAP!!!

Delighted the eagles are back for the second year. There is quite a bit of excitement about them. We talked with a woman last year who bought binoculars for the first time since she was excited about seeing the eagles.

Happy to say the Barred Owls are being seen and heard, although we haven’t found their nest yet. Also Red-shouldered Hawks.

Too much going on and I forgot to post in December, but for several days before and after Christmas, a Great Egret was at Shelley Lake, which is the latest we’ve ever seen them there. We also saw one again in early January.

There are at least 3-4 Great Blue Heron nests so far. We’ve only seen between 3-14 Hooded Mergansers this winter, so where happy to finally see one Ruddy Duck at Shelley Lake Sunday. FINALLY saw our first Fox Sparrow of the season. No grebes again this year so far.

The Long-tailed Duck was beautiful when we and others saw him today on Oneal Road in Raleigh around 2:15 pm!!

Happy birding!

Peace and love for our beautiful Earth, Karen Bearden

On Feb 8, 2019, at 7:00 PM, Clyde Sorenson <sorenson...> wrote:

All- I observed the recent discussion on drones and birding and didn't engage because I really didn't have anything to offer. I have a drone, but would never consider flying it so that it might disturb birds; I use mine exclusively for landscape photography and the like. I'm happy with that.

However, Phil Doerr and I had an experience this afternoon that incensed both of us. We went to see the Raleigh O'neal Rd. long-tailed duck (scored!), and then went over to Shelley Lake to see the eagle nest and anything else interesting we might happen upon. We didn't know exactly where the nest was, but by and by, we found it. As I was approaching the nest tree on the green way, I heard a curious sound, and then saw a small drone flying directly over the nest, and perhaps only 15-20 ft above it! I started looking for the "pilot" and saw a guy at the nearby sewer line man hole obviously controlling it; by this time, Phil was aware of it and we intervened. We informed him that he was not only breaking every ethical birding rule but also at least two federal laws; he informed us that he didn't know those laws and that he wasn't hurting anything, and that the bird couldn't possibly be stressed because it didn't even raise its head when he flew over it! This sent Phil (and, I'll admit, me) into Yosemite Sam mode, and additional things were said (aspersions aimed at our age, height, likelihood of heart attack, etc, on his part; my assertion that he was at least one anatomical body part, etc.). I took the guy's picture and he finally landed his "bird" and quickly departed in the other direction. Phil and I were extremely steamed.

A short while later as we were heading back to the car, the guy came up to us and apologized for the name calling and other imprudent things he said. We explained to him again how wrong what he did was, and he seemed to hear us; we explained that the bird could have been extremely stressed, and that its natural impulse would be to hunker down tight to the nest, since its evolutionary history does not include how to cope with small buzzy things hovering directly overhead. He assured us he would not be doing such things again, and we parted. I am still extremely troubled by the whole affair and left wondering what to do.

As we were leaving, we saw another guy with a much larger, high end drone preparing for launch in the parking lot below the dam. I sincerely hope he wasn't intending to fly it to the north end of the lake.

If you are at Shelley Lake, be on the lookout for this kind of assault on the eagles. Any advice would be appreciated.

Take care,
Clyde Sorenson
Clayton and Raleigh, NC

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