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Juvenile Bald Eagle in Ajax, Ontario
Juvenile Bald Eagle in Ajax, Ontario
It was so exciting to learn about a juvenile Bald Eagle that had been sighted along the shore of Lake Ontario in Ajax, Ontario. Being tied up with fall chores around our property, we had to wait a good couple of weeks before having the chance to go and look for it and were relieved to find that it was still hanging around the same area as reported.
When first we arrived at the location of earlier sightings, Bob and I found no sign whatsoever of the Bald Eagle. Only for a friendly jogger who noticed that we were scouring the trees and beach, obviously searching for something, we would have missed our opportunity to see the Juvenile Bald Eagle. She inquired of us and then pointed further along the trail where “some big bird was perched in a tree”.
Well, actually optimum conditions did not exist for good photographs of the Bald Eagle where it was first perched because the trunk of the tree cast a heavy shadow along the bird’s body. After 30 minutes or so, the Juvenile took flight…
soaring above the heads of gardeners that had been working industriously in the lakeside park to prepare plants for winter.
I was able to grab a few quick shots before the Bald Eagle disappeared over the farm fields to the north, and we thought our observations were over for the day. Reluctant to leave the area immediately, we chatted with numerous other birders who had been attracted to the Park on that glorious, sunny, warm day for the same reason we were. Some had just missed seeing it.
Lo and behold, about half an hour later, the Juvenile Bald Eagle swooped in from its foray over the adjoining swamps and meadows…
and took up a new position on an old snag. The Juvenile Bald Eagle repeatedly worked bits of wood or some other matter from the end of a broken branch with its hooked beak, but otherwise seemed content to bask in the therapeutic rays of the sun much as everyone on the sandy beach a good 70 or so feet below was doing.
Bob and I had the opportunity to meet a couple of people known to us through Facebook, but for the most part, over the next hour or so, all the birdwatchers just bided their time with their backs to the sun and their lenses trained on the Juvenile Bald Eagle. We all had high hopes that the Eagle would become hungry enough that it would descend onto the beach where it had previously been seen to gorge on dead salmon.
Concern had been mounting over previous weeks about the ability of this Juvenile Bald Eagle to actually catch a fish and about its naivety around humans. It had no problem lingering at the water’s edge with photographers as near as 20 feet. Furthermore, the Eagle seemed to venture no further than a short distance from that one particular Park.
But on this afternoon, we were thrilled to observe the Bald Eagle take flight out over Lake Ontario where it circled above flocks of birds “fishing” in the distance before eventually cutting a course toward the shoreline in Pickering and then returning once again to its favorite beach. What a surprise when it swooped in over the heads of some of its admirers.
Perhaps tired of all the attention from the paparazzi, the Juvenile Bald Eagle zeroed in on a stubby branch in yet another tree where it perched with its back to the sun and appeared to ignore our presence.
After such a lengthy flight, the Juvenile Bald Eagle was stretching its wings, getting everything realigned, and…
spent an interminable length of time preening its feathers. Time was ticking, and we were soon going to have to head home.
The Juvenile Bald Eagle was doing a thorough job and often came up with its beak full of feathers that the Eagle had trouble to eject from its mouth. At times, it looked like the Eagle was going to produce a pellet.
In the end, Bob and I had to take our leave of the location, and as we strolled the sandy shore back towards the parking lot, we continued to cast an occasional backward glance just on the off chance that the Juvenile Bald Eagle had decided to fly our way. After all, we walked right past its previous feeding ground where still remnants of a dead fish lay. No such luck on that visit. Maybe we’ll get out that way again before the Eagle takes leave of the area for good. It was since reported that the Juvenile Bald Eagle had been seen associating with a mature Bald Eagle, so maybe that will spell success for it seeing through the winter.