Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Aerial battle over South Puget Sound

I witnessed a five-minute aerial battle Monday, June 14, over Case Inlet, a branch of Puget Sound west of Tacoma, Washington. I was lounging in the bright sunlight (suffering from an allergy attack) looking west across Case Inlet at our cabin on Key Peninsula - Lat/Lon = 47 14' 13" N, 122 49' 33" W. I heard the distinctive call of an osprey, a high, descending, long chirp, then the sound of air rushing over wings! Close in and less than 50 feet high the osprey was flying fast and turning, turning, turning, with a mature bald eagle in hot pursuit. The eagle would rush the osprey, the osprey would turn to avoid him. At first there were also two crows chasing the eagle. The osprey carried a fish in its talons, which is what the eagle wanted; the fish, not the osprey, is the eagle's prey. A mid-air robbery. They moved higher and farther away, as I wondered how this would end. I remembered to watch for the osprey's captured fish to drop and be grabbed by the eagle or hit the water. I didn't see that happen. It was a long battle; I am sure I saw four or five minutes of it. The eagle could accelerate to much faster than the osprey was flying, but the speed worked against him, because when the osprey turned the eagle would overshoot and be far off. After that long five-minute chase the eagle broke off and flew past me below 100 feet and descending. I saw the same battle between a bald eagle and osprey last summer, but it was much shorter. There are resident bald eagles in our area and the ospreys are summer residents. Photos from Everett Herald newspaper.

3 comments:

林磊 said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
xjd7410@gmail.com said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.