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Feb 20, 2003 to Feb 6, 2013

This Bald Eagle Almost Put Me In The Drink

I was kayaking just off the western shore of the Connecticut River, about half way between the Hinsdale bridge and the West River confluence, when I glanced up and saw this dude looking down at me. More than a little startled, I nearly fell in the drink.

He just sat there, maybe 15 feet up, sitting on the limb. He noticed, then quickly dismissed me as an object of interest. I, havening never before seen a Bald Eagle in the wild, was genuinly shocked. In the video you hear me mention the shakey video (I later used some software to stablize the image), which was a direct result of me being startled and excited to see this fellow.

Prior to being startled, I was listening to music on my iPod, which was hanging from a lanyard on my neck in a tiny sleeping bag. A really tiny sleeping bag. That model of iPod contains a camera, which I now very much wanted to employ. It took a minute or so to facilitate the iPod's egress from it's little pouch, and then another minute for me to settle my nerves enough to shoot this, still pretty shakey, video, with the iPod (The iPod touch is basically an iPhone, without the phone, so it has a decent camera built in to the unit). I shot the video, trying to remain still and provide some dulcet tones for the voiceover, and failing completely.

Then I put down iPod/camera and sat in my kayak, admiringing the bird. The bird, for his part, hung out on that limb for another minute, allowing himself to be admired, then took off for the other bank of the river.

I saw him again, a few hours later, when I was rowing back to my home port at Norm's. He'd found some thermals by then and was spiraling up, up, up into a frosted pinprick against that Saturday Morning Blue of a sky.

-Reggie Martell


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Connecticut and West River are great eagle watching spots.

A few years ago in the West River we saw a pair of eagles. The male caught a fish of some sort and was eating along the banks with his partner beside him. He then dragged it over to her, gave it to her to finish off, and flew up a few feet to land on a low log so he could keep an eye out for any trouble.

When done, they both flew off and around.



I was paddling along the eastern edge of the Retreat Meadows and caught sight of an eagle soaring above me. He roosted in a limb high above. Thrilled, I got into position directly below, readying my camera for the money shot of launch and wingspan. I was prepared to sit it out, and win the waiting game if need be. The result, I was schooled. As time elapsed it was clear my patience was conditioned, the eagle has no such limits.


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