Date: 1/12/20 3:32 pm
From: Rob Blye <rwblye...>
Subject: [de-birds] Eagle show and more - lower, eastern Sussex County
We had a full day of errands and activities including the Sussex Bird Club
meeting with a presentation on Purple Martins by Joel Martin (sic). We
probably broke an attendance record with more than 100 crowded into the
large meeting room at the Lewes Public Library.

Carol and I were itching to get out in the sunny, warm, wind-less weather.
We choose to walk across the street to our HOA open space and watch the
sunset from the observation platform looking over Herring Creek and
adjacent Angola Neck Preserve saltmarsh. The trail to the platform is about
0.15 miles through mature loblolly pine/ oak forest with a holly
understory. Salt water intrusion killed trees on the edge of the marsh and
it is a woodpecker haven.
Our first bird was a single hairy woodpecker quickly followed by a
red-headed woodpecker which was flagged as rare on eBird. Next came a
red-bellied woodpecker. I thought we were going to hit the trifecta when my
wife called out flicker but it turned out to be a second red-bellied. A
Carolina wren scolded us as we climbed the steps onto the platform.
We immediately scanned the copse of trees in the middle of the marsh that
has an eagle nest and many snags where eagles often roost. No eagles-but a
suspicious buteo that I think may have been a rough-legged hawk. The
distance (800 m = 0.5 mile) and presentation (looking at us) made
identification sketchy but it had a clear light belly with no breast band
typical of red-tailed hawk, I called it buteo spp on my eBird checklist.
Unfortunately, we missed the bird's exit,
As the light ended we kept adding birds to our list: many bufflehead, great
blue herons, several flocks of flyover snow geese, greater yellowlegs,
gulls and kingsfisher. Then two big gulls flying downstream towards the
nest site morphed into two adult bald eagles. The lead bird settled on one
of the snags and the smaller, second bird wiggled ever so briefly on her
then flew to an adjacent perch. My wife remarked that the eagles should at
least lay eggs this year.

In the waning light a single, perhaps immature, eagle flew upstream and
after minutes settled into a roost in a pine about a mile away. Seconds
later a pair of eagles were silhouetted against the sky locking talons,
falling over each other in the air for several miles. One finally peeled
off to the southeast over the woods and the second bird roosted neat the
single eagle seen minutes earlier.

The male eagle had left the roost site and we saw the female head towards
Burton Point where there is another copse of trees that serves as a roost.

We headed home in the twilight and were treated to yet another red-headed
woodpecker in the same tree where they have nested in the past.

We are now watching the Chiefs whup the Texans (??) and sipping bourbon in


Robert W. Blye
34603 Doe Run
Lewes DE 19958-3332
302 945-8618
610 213-2413 mobile

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