Saturday, January 05, 2008

First Eagle

In bird watching, there are two kinds of "firsts." One first is a life bird--my first ever something. The second is a first for a geographic area or a year or a season.

I was in Gatlinburg, Tenn., New Year's Eve hiking with llamas. Stayed overnight in town and leaving mid-morning and heading up Route 66 towards Sevierville and I-40. As usual, we go stuck in traffic. I spied a large, black bird -- about the size I thought of a Black vulture but not a vulture -- cruising parallel to us. It had a white head and white tail. I kept muttering this was too good to be true but it wasn't. In fact, I began yelling that is just couldn't be!

But it was. I hope.

While this sighting was not confirmed, Bald eagles are present along the rivers and lakes of upper East Tennessee nowadays, even the French Broad River around Sevierville. This last weekend Herndon club members registered two more sightings in the upper four counties. The last 3-4 years the numbers of sightings have increased nicely. Bald eagles were hacked maybe 10-15 years ago on South Holston Lake in Sullivan County. Human intervention seems to be working.

So, it was a surprise and a first!