Sunday, November 25, 2012

Inside The Moments: Episode 9 - Bald Eagle Sighting

This afternoon, me, my brother, and niece went for a short 3.5 mile door-step to door-step hike near our house out to Crystal Lake in Haverhill, MA. Although this was no hike to the mountains, making the decision to just do it, rewarded us tremendously. We just love being able to walk down the street and escape into nature for a quick jaunt through the woods.

Any beaver's home?
Beaver activity
We walked along the shoreline of the lake as the cold wind blew - wow is was it cold out today. There wasn't a whole lot to see, but it was cool because there are not many places where you can go for a shoreline and woods hike all in one within a few miles from our doorstep. After about two miles, we came to a spot where there was a sandbar between an island and the mainland. We wanted to see if the low water would allow for a crossing onto the island, but it was not quite shallow enough.
An island on Crystal Lake in Haverhill, MA
As we were poking around in this spot along the shore, I looked up and alerted Bill to a large bird in a tree on the island. It appeared to be a bald eagle. What an awesome sight!

After watching it do nothing but turn its head back and forth for a while, we turned around and started to head back towards the trail. As we walked, the setting sun shined off its white head, allowing us to always easily see it when we glanced back. Once on the far shoreline, we looked back at the island to clearly see the eagle on the same branch standing watch over its island.
Eagle (on branch left side of island)
What an interesting experience for such a short hike. According to Massachusetts Wildlife, bald eagles begin breeding with courtship in the late fall/early winter, followed by nest building in December-January. Therefore this one was likely scouting out a nice spot to set up shop for mating and a nest. Also according to Mass Wildlife, 104 bald eagles were counted in 2011, and 2012's official bald eagle count was cut short due to bad weather.  With numbers like this, it makes this experience more memorable. Talk about being inside the moment!

Hike Stats
Trails: Unnamed, Crystal Lake
Distance: 2.75 miles
Book Time: 1hr 28min

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