Thought I would put out a quick update on Raptor Watch 2023. I made a short visit to Eleven Mile Canyon yesterday to check on the eagle’s nest and other birds that call the canyon home. I expected to see and hear the usual ruckus being raised by a healthy population of red-wings, but the valley was mostly silent. Not a good sign. Mama eagle was in the nest, so even though I was still unable to spot any little ones, I know they are there.
Osprey in the Canyon
Based on past years, I wasn’t expecting to see any osprey in the canyon. They should have laid eggs in a nest somewhere in the canyon by now. The normal behavior of the male is that he finds a tree with a view of his entire domain and watches over the female in the nest. He will fiercely defend his nest from any potential threats.
However, I was delighted to find one along the river where I could get some nice portraits. Now I don’t know what that means. Does it mean there is a nest somewhere in the vicinity of that stretch of river? Or does it mean that this is a new osprey who has yet to find a mate. Or does it mean that one of them didn’t make the return trip this year. We probably won’t know until next September when the juveniles remain after the adults have departed for their winter homes.
Great Blue Heron
I was hoping to capture some images of blue heron fishing in the river, but I only saw them in the air. And I think so far there is only one specimen in the canyon. I’m hoping more arrive as the weather warms.
I stopped to watch the nest for a while, on my way out of the canyon. I had to get out the binoculars to see for sure, but there are two thriving eaglets in the nest. One is getting around in the nest quite well, while the second is smaller and a bit further behind in development. This is normal as eh second was probably hatched a week later. Hopefully both will survive to flight. As they get more active I’ll provide some video footage of their antics.
I was hoping to see the papa eagle fly in with a fish, but I ran out of time before he returned. I noticed she appeared to be feeding the young ones on my way in, so perhaps I was just watching between fishing trips the second time through.
Anyway, I’m looking forward to a beautiful summer of raptor watching in both the canyon and Manitou Lake. The ice on the lake has been slow to melt this year, but I hope to visit soon!