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A sunny morning along Tonawanda Creek


The sun had barely cleared the horizon when I pulled out of the driveway Tuesday morning. And with the camera case on the seat beside me, I really wasn't sure where I was going. The last thing I expected on a rather chilly morning was a bald eagle perched in a dead tree overlooking Tonawanda Creek.

Nearly an hour earlier, while watching the news and having coffee, I mulled over where I would go. At first I contemplated going either to the swamps, Genesee County Park or dragging the canoe out back and paddling upstream on the Tonawanda. These have all been productive in the past but this morning, for some reason, I opted for something different. But still, I couldn't make up my mind on where to I just got in the truck and drove. There was also a catch....I didn't have great deal of time to kill as I had an appointment at 11 a.m.

The sun was making its way up the eastern horizon when I eased down a grassy bank of the Tonawanda where it flows along Stegman Road north of the Bushville bridge. Despite the bright sun on this morning, far less light penetrates shoreline canopy in this stretch. That would change farther downstream. The rock-studded shoreline is a good indication this is smallmouth territory.

Steam rising off the surface -- a good indication the water was considerably warmer than the chilly 45 degree air.   

Farther downstream is where I came across the bald eagle -- in surroundings more suitable for surveying its domain, scanning the creek and the surrounding area for a meal. Fish, muskrats, rabbits -- when you have a bill and talons that big and sharp, the menu is limitless.

Turning its head nearly 180 degrees enables him to watch his backside and prevent potential prey from slinking past.

Further upstream, blended in among fallen limbs, a trio of wood ducks are oblivious to the threat from above. 

Taking leave of their temporary haven, the woodies wisely head upstream -- toward the cover of the canopy.

Bob Price

Cool! Nice pics of the eagle-I wonder if it's the same one that I've heard hangs out behind Chapin on Ellicott Street. One of these days I hope I can get to see one around the area.

Sep 18, 2013, 5:15pm Permalink

Bob Price - I did follow up on your tip last month regarding the osprey. Locating the nest was easy enough but the osprey wasn't so cooperative. I waited around a bit to no avail - but managed to get some pics of egrets nearby. Thank you!

Sep 18, 2013, 8:30pm Permalink
Jeffrey R. Bartz

Wow! Fantastic pics! A back-to-back bald eagle and great horned owl encounter...there ought to be an outdoorsman award or patch or something for that. And the pictures of the creek are surreal! Very cool!

Sep 26, 2013, 9:19pm Permalink

Thanks Jeff....actually, there is a recognition award as such (see tongue in cheek) consists of venison pepper sticks and/or backstraps, tenderloin, etc. courtesy of grandson and son-in-law. The presentation normally takes place sometime between Thanksgiving and Christmas!!!!!!!!!!!

Sep 27, 2013, 8:39am Permalink

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