Sunday, February 23, 2014

Eagles on the Hudson

     I remember when I was a kid how bald eagles were endangered and how they were fighting to make a comeback. DDT, a pesticide used before my time had an adverse effect on animals aside from insects. One of which was top predatory birds. The pesticide made egg shells brittle, many eggs were lost, making it very hard for eagle, osprey, falcons, and other raptors to incubate their eggs and successfully hatch out a new generation of birds. DDT was banned and since then, raptors have made amazing strides in regaining their numbers. Just because these birds are back, doesn't mean we should ignore environmental problems that may effect their numbers. Being top predators they have an important role in the ecosystem but can also greatly suffer the effects of any problems that occur within their habitats.
     My husband took me to Iona Island today, in Bear Mountain State Park, along the beautiful Hudson River. The ice and snow were plentiful up here, but the temperatures were very pleasant. We saw so many eagles, at least 5 or 6 just in this one location. Iona Island is not open to hiking as it is a sanctuary for eagles, so there is limited places to view from, but we were able to see plenty of eagles. You sometimes need eagle eyes yourself to see these birds because they get a lot of altitude as they soar. These birds were very much up there, so my photos are not the best, but it was so thrilling to see these birds in the wild amongst (very) beautiful scenery.
Bear Mountain behind us.
There is going to be a very "blue" theme to all these photos. They were way up there! 
The Hudson River froze over this winter. The ice is breaking up on a day that reached into the upper 40's. It looks like a scene out of Hudson Bay in the Arctic, though!
Immature eagles have a mottled brown plumage, as opposed to the mature adults in their contrasting white and dark brown coloration.
Two eagles. This is a cropped photo, so that guy on the left is wayyyyyyyy way out there!
Three eagles!
Bald eagles are bald, because it refers to the fact that they are piebald. Large areas of white on the birds body that are of a different color.

More eagles in the distance. 
Not the best photo but it almost looks as if we are making eye contact. Best part is for eagles, they don't need binoculars or a zoom lens, he/she can probably see me and all my features just fine.

Another immature eagle.

I played with the editing tools a bit on this one...
The ice cannot support a human, but eagles, despite their large size do not weigh as much as they appear. Hollow bones, feathers, and their beak allow them to be light enough to take flight. So landing on some slush on the Hudson River is no big deal.
And joined by an immature bird.

Here is some more information on Bear Mountain and Iona Island. This part of the state is never ever a let down, always gorgeous and always something to see.

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