In prior years, we occasionally saw Bald Eagles flying over our small Florida lake. Once I saw one attack an Osprey that had just caught a fish. The eagle’s larceny attempt was not successful. However, this year the eagles have paid us several visits (see Double Eagle and The Eagle Has Landed). There is now evidence that they may be breeding within a few miles of us. At least twice, adult Bald Eagles have been observed carrying sticks to a possible nest site. So far, none of my neighbors has seen the actual nest. This morning, during a feeding frenzy that attracted about 5 Ospreys, a couple dozen Ring-billed Gulls, Double-crested Cormorants and several heron species, an eagle suddenly appeared. It flew directly overhead, only about 20 feet high.
Luckily, I was prepared to photograph it because of a dramatic bird “happening” that made me run for my camera. Just a few minutes earlier, only about 10 feet off our waterfront, an Osprey caught a very large fish and was unable to lift it out of the water. I heard the loud splash and at first, when I looked, I thought I was seeing a cormorant. The “cormorant” morphed into a breast-stroking Osprey. It appeared to be my chance to capture an Osprey’s demise. It actually sunk underwater and was struggling to get the front part of its body and wings up. During the 20 seconds that it took for me to grab the camera and switch to a long lens, the Osprey apparently was able to let go of the fish, as I saw it flying away empty-clawed, vigorously shaking off the water.
In the harsh early morning backlight, I photographed this Tricolored Heron at our lawn-lake interface. It paid me little heed.
A Little Blue Heron joined the Tricolored. They were attracted by the activity of many small fish along the lake margin, perhaps herded there by a cormorant feeding just offshore.
Then, a Green Heron walked right up, next to the other two herons.
A Ring-billed Gulls, crop full of fish, sat on a nearby rooftop.