Wednesday, March 11 Bald Eagles fish and feast on herring!

Seward, Alaska

Sunrise 8:26 am, sunset 7:50 pm, for a total day length of 11 hours and 23 minutes. Tomorrow will be 5 minutes and 30 seconds longer.

Even colder and windier today, starting at 13ยบ this morning, rising to the low 20s. The NW wind cranked up to 19-25 mph with frequent gusts to 39 mph, increasing in ferocity, blasting away anything loose and some items that weren’t. All the loose snow was swept off the surrounding mountains; no more streamers for the wind to twirl.

In the warmer bay, huge schools of Pacific herring spoke of spring. Tight flocks of BLACK-LEGGED KITTIWAKES followed the bait balls, like small snow squalls, white swirls diving into the white-capped waves. Rafts of COMMON MERGANSERS, COMMON MURRES, BARROW’S GOLDENEYES, and SURF SCOTERS bobbed on the frothing waves and dove after the fabulous feast.

Among them were dozens of BALD EAGLES, supported by the wind, effortlessly hovering over the bounty, ready to grab talons-full of silvery fish. After a successful grab, the giant raptors rose up and ate one herring after the other midair, bending over to touch their toes. I counted at least 30 Bald Eagles, mostly adults, fishing and soaring, some just specks high in the blue sky. It was a most amazing sight!

Normally, the effort required to hover over potential prey is quite limited, and the eagles must make frequent trips to shore to rest. The powerful wind, however, transformed them into hovercraft, capable of almost unlimited fishing time, alternating with soaring to eat and rest.

Check out the show if you can and bring your binoculars to see the action up close. It’s quite the spectacle!

Happy Birding!
Carol Griswold
Seward Sporadic Bird Report Reporter

1 comment:

  1. Love your photos of the herring fest, Carol! You always have such lovely shots. Thanks for this blog. It helps me keep up!