36 bird enthusiasts took a tour of Tule Lake and the Lower Klamath National Wildlife Refuge Saturday, Jan. 15, 2011 for the annual birding field trip co-sponsored by the Mount Shasta Area Audubon Society and the River Exchange.
"Is it going for that duck?" someone cried.
The eagle swooped directly at the lone pintail about to land on Tule Lake. Nearing its prey, it opened its wings, dropped its tail and flew at the duck talons first. The pintail winged upwards and the eagle flashed by harmlessly.
But it quickly winged around and attacked again. And again the pintail dodged it.
Then the pintail banked downward and landed on the on a pool of open water surrounded by ice. As if honoring a prior predator/prey agreement, the bald eagle broke off its attack and returned to its perch on the pole towering over the icy lake.
"I've never seen that before," said long-time birder Chris Stromsness. He reached for the radio to report the near miss to the others in his caravan.
Stromsness split guiding duties with veteran birder Phil Detrich, taking a total of 36 bird enthusiasts on tours of Tule Lake and the Lower Klamath National Wildlife Refuge all day Saturday, Jan. 15, 2011 for the annual birding field trip co-sponsored by the Mount Shasta Area Audubon Society and the River Exchange.
Two processions of cars carried persons hopeful of sighting raptors and waterfowl all day long. Though species were scarce, those patient enough to stay until the end were rewarded, with views of a ferruginous hawk, two rough-legged hawks, two geat blue herons, five great horned owls, a dozen bald eagles, and countless Canada geese, snow geese and other waterfowl.