Interesting Eagle Activity

January 8, 2011

During the last days of 2010 and the first week of 2011, I counted 20 to 50 eagles each time I was on a short two-mile stretch of river.  Then things changed.  While out on the James River on January 8, I noticed some interesting eagle activity.  In a way, it was expected, but still interesting.  The huge group of migratory bald eagles that have been hanging out along the main channel between Henricus Park and Jones Neck (near Deep Bottom) have left the area. 

The eagles moved out of the area sometime between January 5 and January 8 to another part of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed, perhaps further down the James. I didn't travel beyond Jones Neck, so they could be just downriver near Presquile Island ... as close as a couple of miles away, but for certain, they are not where they have been.  

The migratory eagle count dropped to about three and I finally noticed some of the resident bald eagles back to their old habits.  What is interesting about this, is that when the migratory bald eagles took over the territories of Varina & Enon and Virginia & James, these two pair of resident eagles backed off and gave the migratory birds full run of their territories.  Now they have their territories back and I recognized both Varina & Enon and either Virginia or James

The first thing I noticed as I was coming downriver, past the 295 bridge was two mature bald eagles perched in the top of tree on the south side of the river.  Varina & Enon's favorite hangout. I slowed down to say hello as we passed them, Varina flew off her branch, came out towards us, and gave all of us on board a wonderful fly over.  It is so cool when these birds fly near the boat and turn their heads and look right down at us.  When this bird did this, it had to be a resident bird, it was Varina.  The entire time the migratory birds were in the area, we had no close encounters.  No fly overs.  So, it seems, that things are back to normal very quickly.  I was so glad to see Varina & Enon back and look forward to seeing them next week.  I'll be on the river quite a few days next week with a couple of eagle tours and a couple of fishing trips.  Look for a full wildlife & fishing report by the end of next week. 

--Capt. Mike

The photo's story?  This is a wonderful image of Varina taken recently by wildlife photographer, Ricky Simpson,  -- Photo by Ricky Simpson