Bald Eagles!

It’s rare for me to get my second paddle of the season so quickly after the first (first was Sunday, second was today, Wednesday), but the weather cooperated and today was chicken wing day in the cafeteria so I wasn’t hungry when I got home, so away I went.

The creek was quite deserted by other boats, except for one flat bottom dinghy that two guys were fishing from. I’ve seen carp mating in that area, so that’s probably what they were after.

Considering that Sunday I saw almost no wildlife except geese, today was a bonanza day. I saw male red-winged blackbirds staking out their territories, several kingfishers patrolling their sections of the river (and raising their crests in alarm when I got too close), a few pairs of ducks, and I finally saw the famous Irondequoit Creek bald eagles. I rounded a corner and saw two soaring birds, one quite high and one just above the ridge line, nd immediately said “oh, turkey vultures”, but then the lower one spread his stunning white tail and I noticed that the head was bright white as well. I never did make out for sure if the higher one was a bald eagle as well, but I think it was. One thing that impressed me was that while it was soaring, it seemed to be moving back and forth much faster than a turkey vulture does. Maybe it’s anti-vulture prejudice, but it just seemed more, I don’t know, purposeful or something.

I also saw a crow or raven down fairly low, but he flew away rapidly as I got near so I didn’t get a good look. There were very distinct primary feathers curling up at the tips, which I think means it was a raven.

I went a little bit further than I did on Sunday, and I wasn’t as tired when I reached the weir, probably because I paced myself better. Probably just as well, because on the way home there were two stretches where I was paddling into a very strong wind. My weather widget says that the winds at the airport are 21G33 knots, or 24 to 33 mph, which I can easily believe. And when the wind is blowing in my face like that, my old canoe trip instincts say “paddle as hard as you can for the lee of the upwind shore, and don’t rest until you get there”, so that’s what I do.