Wednesday, March 9, 2016 Golden Eagle? speck bird

Wednesday, March 9, 2016
Seward, Alaska

The clouds cleared by early afternoon and the warm sun reigned in a pure blue sky. I headed to Fourth of July Beach and while scanning the spectacular snowy slopes of Mt Alice with my binoculars, I spotted an Eagle, gliding low over one of the steep valleys. I quickly took some photos before it disappeared. I watched and waited and was lucky to see it reappear one more time.

Gliding and hunting low over the mountain seems more like a GOLDEN EAGLE than a Bald Eagle. When I zoomed in on my photos, it seemed that the tail was longer than the head, and the secondaries definitely had a bulge.
An odd white patch, I think in the armpit (or the possibly on the back, hard to tell which side was up), does not show up in any of my bird books.

If anyone can decipher and identify this speck bird, I’m all ears!

Happy Birding!
Carol Griswold
Seward Sporadic Bird Report Reporter

Paul Fritz, who can see infinitely better than I, identified my speck bird as a BALD EAGLE. He noted that the whitish belly and axillaries are indicative of a young Bald Eagle. If a Bald Eagle has a white belly, it will also have a white triangle on its upper back, typically on 2 or 3 year old birds. The first photo shows a large head in comparison to the tail, which is also a good field mark for a Bald Eagle. Thanks, Paul!

Thanks to Martin who sagely advised me to enjoy the gorgeous scenery and let the ID slide, and to Beth who recommended consulting with the Peter Pyle guide re: the molting sequence that might explain the illusion of "bulging secondaries."

So interesting!

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