Saturday, December 29, 2012

Roadkill Eagle

I was headed up to check on our camp when I saw a large bird drop from the sky and land in the middle of HWY 69/287 near the bridge that spans Hickory Creek, which is about 3 miles south of Warren, TX.  Along the edge of the road was a DOR (dead on road) opossum.  First thing that gets my attention is the broad, solid white tail that is splayed against the asphalt.  Then the bird lifts its head, which confirms what I’m seeing- a bald eagle.  Never in my life did I ever think I would see an eagle landing in the middle of a busy highway to feed on roadkill. Eagles mostly feed on fish, but also take advantage of any carrion that might come its way.  I immediately pulled to the side of the road and begin setting up my camera, when a couple of crows come along and land near the opossum.  Before I can get my zoom lens attached a large truck came along and spooked the birds causing them to leave.  They fly to my right and into the woods, so I grabbed my binoculars and began glassing the trees hoping that the eagle had landed.  After about 15 minutes of searching I decide to sit there for awhile hoping that the large raptor might return to feed on the opossum, but no luck.  I decide to move on, cursing the missed opportunity of getting a photo of this magnificent bird.   Just as I was about to pull back onto the highway I hear the mobbing calls of crows coming from the trees on the opposite side of the road.
Through my binoculars I see the eagle perched on the branch of a pine snag.  Unbeknownst to me, it had circled behind me and to the other side of the highway to this perch.  Had it not been for the crows I never would've known it was there.  The photo I captured was a bit bright on its head due to the glare of the sun and before I could take another the eagle had had enough of the harassing crows and flew.  I took several more photos of it in flight before it disappeared into the distance.

Other blog posts dealing with bald eagles:     (1) & (2)  
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