[Tweeters] Thomle Road, Snohomish County juvenile Golden Eagle seen today (Friday)

William wrboyington at msn.com
Fri Feb 10 14:41:55 PST 2017


Tweeters,

With a strong wind blowing, I arrived around 10:00 a.m. near the end of Thomle Road, where a large flock of Snow Geese was extended along the field to the west, with some eagles on the ground nearby. As soon as I lifted my binoculars, I was fortunate to pick up the juvenile Golden Eagle, with prominent white wing patches visible, flying behind the flock and landing in view there. After setting up my scope in the buffeting wind, I was eventually able to relocate it, as it had moved again, and had a partial view of it in a dip at the back of the field. At one point, a large portion of the goose flock, located just in front of it, lifted up,( and eventually landed in another part of the fields.) Shortly thereafter, with my scope on the goldie, it flew toward me into the field vacated by the geese, giving me good views of golden head and wing patches. Its goal turned out to be a single goose still in the field, which I had not noticed, and the eagle grabbed it easily, as the luckless goose was able to move only a few feet, barely off the ground, which had me thinking it may have been in some way incapacitated. Either that, or it was really unwary. After the kill, the goldie attempted to fly with it, but didn’t get too far, as it appeared to be too heavy to lift. The goldie was soon approached by two Bald Eagles, one of them in juvenile plumage, who landed close by. As Bald Eagle numbers increased, the goldie was easily able to fend off an occasional attempt by a single bird, usually a juvenile, to get on the kill. The goldie was able to feed for around 20 minutes, and then, with the Bald Eagle numbers up to nine, very close by, and with a simultaneous assault on the kill by multiple birds, the goldie gave it up, though not before having gotten the greater share. The baldies then competed for what was left for 15 minutes, before an adult flew out of my sight with a grayish tattered sheet I thought might be skin, or perhaps entrails fascia of some sort. I left around 11:00, after quickly scanning around with my binoculars and not spotting the juvie Golden again. I guess my good fortune was in lucky timing.

On the way home on Norman Road, I checked out the blackbird-starling flock at Cliffhaven Farm (I think that’s the right name), where Marv Breece had seen the Rusty Blackbird female a few days ago. I did not spot it, but some of the flock was hidden at times by vehicles and other objects, and they were flying around some, with people walking in the area.

Good birding,

Bill Boyington
Shoreline, WA


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