Friday, December 7, 2012

EAGLE WATCHING, HARRISON MILLS: DAY 2





Awoke to the rain pelting down and a leaden sky, but soon the sky was lightening and a wind blowing. I knew the weather would improve. Twenty-four eagles sat in my tree and others were feeding by the river.

My breakfast was delivered at 9am in a picnic hamper. I laid the table and opened it up. A pitcher of OJ, Eggs Benny, a cranberry muffin, fresh fruit salad, and a pot of coffee set me up as I watched the eagles breakfast too. I piled on my clothes, grabbed my camera and set out. 

The wind was bitter cold and strong, but the rain had stopped. Mountain peaks covered in fresh snow peeked from the clouds. I quickly discovered eagles are shy. The instant they heard my shutter fire, they were up and away. The light was poor, so I reset my camera to ISO 800 and put it on shutter priority at 1/500th or more so I could get the aperture as wide as possible. It worked.


Met Betty-Anne, the owner of Pretty Estate Resort, who took me on a tour to see the eagles from the best vantage points. At the flats to the east of the property, we walked through the wetlands stepping over salmon carcasses and watching the birds standing in the shallows, occasionally ripping bits off them. They're noisy birds - all kinds of calls - and they fight over choice bits of rotting fish. Saw the tree with the webcam on an eagle nest about 135 feet up - on David Hancock's site and in the spring we may see the eggs hatch and the eaglets.

A heavy rain shower forced us inside Rowena's Inn where the most delectable  traditional afternoon tea awaited us in the elegant living room. I felt a bit like royalty but for my old cords and hiking boots. A hot drink was welcome as I was frozen. Yes, we savoured cucumber sandwiches with the crusts cut off; also ones filled with chicken curry and smoked salmon. There were fresh-baked scones with jam and clotted cream and tiny pastries of all kinds. Flying in the face of tradition we both drank a glass of wine with our tea (!) as I asked questions about the history of Rowena's and the estate. Betty-Anne generously talked about her idyllic childhood here and how their family property was converted into the resort in the 1990s so everyone could enjoy it as they had for nearly 75 years. 


The sun came out and I was given a golf cart so I could return for more photos of the eagles. It was all too brief and the cold wind had me hurrying back, the smell of wood smoke from the cottages in the cold air. 

I lit my log fire as soon as I had stripped off my parka and sweaters, and then discovered another cheese plate in the fridge. Now I'm writing this up as dusk falls, rain splatters against my window, and I'm cosy and warm.







Images: Photos by Pharos 2012. All rights reserved

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