Eagle predation

Thursday, November 15, 2001
Good evening
TEMPERATURE: Max. 12.1ºC — Min. 9.1ºC — Reset 9.3ºC — Rain 8.2
MARINE LIFE:Just after 9:00 this morning a mature Bald Eagle entered the M.P.A.,it’s arrival ‘announced’ by a mass ‘lift-off’ of the 500+ gulls and cormorants.The 22 Black Oyster Catchers also took flight ‘sounding’off with their characteristic shrill whistling,also alerted were the ever present Starlings,Crows and Black Turnstones that scurried among the rocks to be as inconspicuous as possible.The Eagle took up it’s ‘post’ on the rocky ridge along the east shore of Gr. Race and things were quiet until about 9:40 when he took off and was immediately joined by 250-300 gulls.In a dive among the circling gulls the Eagle ‘took’ an immature gull landed on the ridge,spent 15minutes feeding then left the carcass to eager Crows.The Eagle flew to the high point on the SE rocks and sat there until about 11:30 when he again took flight-one circle around the shore of Gr. Race with the gulls in pursuit the Eagle swooped down over the rocks in front of the Learning Centre. When he came back into view there was an immature gull hanging from his talons.The gulls continued to circle the Eagle harrassing it to the point where instead of setting down it flew about 100 metres out over the water where it lost hold of the gull. The Eagle made 4 attempts to retrieve the gull caught up in the tide and moving quite rapidly eastward. The 5th and as it turned out final attempt at reclaiming it’s prey was only partly successful. The eagle did manage to grab hold onto the wing but could not maintain it’s grip and the gull dropped again into the choppy water. I don’t know if the Eagle gave up because of fatigue or the constant interference by the gulls,maybe a combination of the two,but he flew off towards Bentinck Island.A lot of energy expended in the search for food,quite a contrast to the leisurely stroll down the well stocked aisle of the corner grocery store most of us take for granted! The small east bay was popular again today as a haul-out area,by nightfall 57 California and 13 Northern, very noisy Sea Lions were gathered together no more than 6 metres from the house.Might have to resort to earplugs tonight,at the very least will have to sleep with the window closed.One California Sea Lion has the number 768 branded on his rump-an indication he must have made a nuisance of himself, possibly near a fish ladder.
HUMAN INTERACTION:1 Tour boat through M.P.A. at 16:40
posted by Carol or Mike S at 6:09 PM
Good morning
WEATHER: Sky overcast — Vis 15 miles — Wind north 9 knots Sea rippled low east swell –occasional rain shower
posted by Carol or Mike S at 7:19 AM