Eagles Near the Blue Hills
By Lawrence Meyer
Have you seen eagles in the Blue Hills? There may be a nesting pair not far from the Blue Hills… so you might be luckily enough to spot them! Larry Meyer, a long-time Friends of the Blue Hills member, has been keeping track of these beautiful birds.
A juvenile eagle has been appearing on the Neponset River at Milton Landing, not far from the Blue Hills. The eagle has been in the company of the two mature eagles that have regularly roosted along the river for four years, the juvenile’s presence suggests that the two matures have a nearby nest.
I first observed the juvenile at 6 a.m. on Saturday August 18 when it followed a mature eagle from a perch they were sharing in trees along the Hutchison Field river edge in a flight over the Forbes Woods. A short time later, the mature eagle returned to the river bend, was joined a second mature, and, with four osprey, went soaring over the river bend enjoying the day’s strong winds. I went back later that morning, again saw 4 osprey, 2 mature eagles, and 1 immature eagle. There were also two marsh hawks and two great egrets, all playing around in the wind.
On Monday the 20th I went back at sunrise and saw two immature eagles soaring over Forbes Woods. One flew to the canoe ramp from Forbes Woods. I got a very good look at this one and began to suspect this one was a juvenile, unlike the second immature, which is a 2-3 year old bird that I and others have occasionally seen before.
Later that morning, about 9:15, I stopped by again. A mature was perched. About five minutes later, I saw an immature I suspected was a juvenile flying in low up the river from Forbes Woods area. It made a bee line to where the mature was perched and perched right below it. Ten minutes later both eagles took off together, flying right over my head at the canoe ramp. I was looking for field marks for a juvenile. Soaring over me, the juvenile actually looked larger than the mature as its wing feathers had a sort of frayed, turkey vulture type look. The cheeks adjacent near the beak were whitish and overall the bird was more brownish than black.
Checking Cornell University’s eBird website, I discovered that another birder had since reported and photographed a juvenile she observed on August 18 while kayaking on the Neponset. From the photo I am 95% certain this is the same eagle I saw earlier on the morning of the 18th and again on the 20th – and a juvenile.
Let us know in the comments below – or on our Facebook or Twitter page – if you see them!
Read Larry’s eagle update last year.
Photo credit: Craig Gibson