Why is that guy stopped along the highway?

I took a little scouting trip yesterday morning to nearby Caledonia County which I may use for a County Big Year in 2015. It’s a pretty good haul over there and nothing except a few American Crows seemed to be moving. Once I got to the County, it was even worse – nothing but lovely frosted trees (with no birds that I could spot.)

Approaching the Village of Hardwick, I decided to swing north for a moment on Route 16 and just as I made the turn, noticed a car, with a guy in it, parked alongside the road – which overlooks the river. I slowed – didn’t see any binoculars, but waved as did he. I pondered as I crawled northward what he was doing – and then I saw snowy tire marks in the road and thought, “He spotted something and circled back to check it out.”

The truck is too long to “hook a u-ie” on a main road so I drove up to the next driveway, reversed course, and noticed that he had pulled out and departed. I slowed, pulled right into his tire tracks alongside the road, checked the river for mergansers, and then checked the trees.  Bingo!  He had spotted a Bald Eagle and returned to look it over.  So I did the same.  Carefully exiting the truck, I took a few shots from behind the vehicle, pausing as trucks and cars past, and quietly watched the regal bird eye the river, eye me, and just quietly sit there. I carefully left the area without disturbing him.

The SX50 Canon is perfect for "grab and go" shots like this.

The SX50 Canon is perfect for “grab and go” shots like this.

Sometimes, spotting birders is a great way to spot birds that you might not otherwise see. More than once, I have been put on a good bird by someone who already has it in binos or scope. I probably would have missed this guy today if I hadn’t seen those tire tracks in the road. I have no idea if my predecessor was a birder or just someone who spotted an eagle but in any case, thanks.

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