Tuesday, August 30, 2016

August, 3. Around the Koni Peninsula, ("Fog thickens")

August, 3. Around the Koni Peninsula, Continued ("Fog thickens")

The fog was thickening, and we were crawling along the shore using the GPS. Now and then the summits were barely visible, but the shoreline was completely covered with the 'milk' of the fog.  We decided to skip this portion of the coast in hope that we might check it on the way back, provided that the fog disappeared. While going at a very slow speed, all of the sudden we heard loud call of the eagle. Scanning the skies away from the shore we did spot 2 eagles doing something at a distance. There was no thick fog in this direction, and the eagles were in good visibility. Naturally the gyroscopic binocular was applied, all optics was out and to our big surprise we started to realize that the eagles are fighting for some prey.

The prey appears to be an immature cormorant. Possibly it was taken from the cormorant colony hidden in the fog. The eagles were struggling at about 100 m above the sea level, and one eagle forced another to drop the prey. Off it went into the water. But both eagles made couple of steep circles and one stooped on the water surface to pick it up, being chased by another. Vocalizing by the both eagles was highly audible from the boat, which, with the engine off, was rocking on the waves. 
 The first Steller's Sea Eagle managed to pick up the prey from the surface and started to ascend into the air aiming to the foggy shore. The other one was behind after loosing some time fighting the headwind. 
The fist eagle managed to pass the boat from the side, but the windshield obstructed my lens. However the second eagle, evidently giving up, passed right above me, and disappeared in the coastal fog. Fresh bloodstain was visible on its tail.

The birds went off to to the foggy shore. Their flight directions suggested that they were not members of one pair. 
The excitement let us had a tea break, and surprise surprise, the fog started to lift up and we went off to continue the survey towards the eastern border of protected territory.

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