"It was imprudent of us, in the first place, to become authors. We could have become something regular, but we managed not to.
We were lucky, but we were also determined." Roy Blount Jr

"I don’t change the facts to enhance the drama. I think of it the other way round, the drama has got to fit the facts,
and it’s your job as a writer to find the shape in real life."
Hilary Mantel

Friday, August 21, 2009

Endless Eagles

I know--that's no eagle. It's the turkey who crossed the road barely a mile from the Lodge this morning. The Vice Chair of Fish & Game & Marine Resources always brakes for turkeys. More turkey news at the conclusion of this post.

I was on my way to the coast. At Portsmouth I crossed the bridge over the Piscataqua River to Maine.

I was headed for one of the coastal towns just north of Brunswick. I made really good time and checked into my Freeport hotel late in the morning. Settled in, rang the Chap to say I'd arrived safely and departed for my author friend's house.

It was a busy day for them--having a summer house in Maine means plenty of family and friends drop by. They had planned a boat ride on the Kennebec River, and after phone consulation with the boatman it was decided that we would not be deterred by grey skies.

So we drove down to the marina.

That's our yellow boat and yellow-shirted boatman.

There were six passengers altogether--my friend and her husband, their two boys and a friend of the elder son, and me. We all had cameras.

Setting out.

We passed by the Iron Works, where a ship was being fitted out.

During our journey we saw plenty of man-made platforms for osprey nests--but some birds like to pick out their own nesting sites.

This property has it all: dwelling, boat house, and its own little lighthouse.

We were eagle- and osprey- and heron-watching all the way down river. And we saw seals. We discussed whether eagles were "cuddly" or not. My friend and I chatted about writing books and reading them.

As we neared the ocean, the fog grew ever thicker. When the boatman's visibility was down to only 2 feet (!) he decided to turn back. He has electronic equipement and could've carried on, but he said other boats might not, which would be dangerous.

A view through the mist.

I sort of lost count of how many eagles we saw. This was the first one.

A juvenile. Probably the offspring of Eagle 1--they seem drawn to the same perch!

One juvenile flew down to the water right in front of us and picked up something in its claws. We thought it was a fish, but when it perched in a tree we realised it was actually an eel--which you can see dangling down from where his feet are perched.

The captain stopped the boat so we could watch the eagle eating.

This was the fourth eagle we saw.

And away he goes.

My camera was giving me a "low batteries" message so I didn't take any seal pictures. The light wasn't advantageous for shooting objects in the water, and by the time we'd spotted a seal, it would duck under the surface. I skipped photographing at least one eagle. Maybe two.

There are two eagles in this shot. One by the nest, to the left, and the mate is to the right. I think these are 6 & 7.

The one not on the nest went soaring away.

We saw more eagles, ospreys, ducks, blue herons, and Canada geese.

After the wonderful boat ride we went back to the house. My friend and I had a nice stroll through her neighbourhood and to downtown for an iced coffee. All the fellows had scattered, and they returned with dire weather news--tornado warnings and fierce thunderstorms from NH to inland and coastal counties of Maine. I decided it was time to head back to Freeport, and with heartfelt thanks for a wonderful, memorable afternoon, off I went.

On my brief drive south, the skies were the clearest I'd seen all day, with even a hint of blue seaward. The gathering clouds were very distant and well to the west. So I decided to stop here and shop a bit.

I spent more time in the dog department than anywhere.

I bought a little something for the Chap and crossed the street to another favourite shop. When I exited, the biggest blackest thundercloud I'd ever seen was hovering over Bean's. I thought I was hearing the dreaded "freight train" tornado sound, till I realised it was just heavy Friday traffic from nearby I-295, behind the store. On my way out of town I grabbed some food. Made it back to the hotel as the first drops were falling. I never even got wet, but now there's a downpour. Nothing too severe, though, despite all the warnings.

Back in the Granite State, the Chap was having dinner with relatives. He ordered the turkey plate...which brings me back to the wild turkey you met at the start of this post.

My green stuffed lizard Sparkle, who made her blog debut in Montreal, came along for this trip, too. But with all those eagles and raptors in the sky, looking for prey, I decided she'd be safer in my bag.

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