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.
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.