THE ABACO BALD EAGLE(S): AWOL IN 2018
It is a year since I last wrote about the Abaco Bald Eagle(s) of 2017. The bracketed ‘s’ signifies the absence of firm evidence that there was just the one. Equally, there was no indication that there were ever two. All reported sightings were of a single bird, seen at a distance. The likelihood is that it was a lone visitor. The bald eagle is classified as a very rare vagrant on Abaco, and I gathered together as many reports since 2000 as I could find (see below). Not many, in summary, and never two.
Last year, a bald eagle was sighted around to coast of Abaco over a period of several months. There were 8 sightings in all, and I had hoped that the bird might stay around for 2018. Sadly, not so. The photos featured here come from a sequence by photographer Phil Lanoue. They were not taken on Abaco of course, so don’t be confused. But they illustrate the magnificence of this iconic bird as it prepares for its landing in a pine tree. We do have wonderful ospreys of course, but the occasional eagle makes for a rare treat.
As I said last year, the 2017 sightings were most likely all of the same lone bird that had somehow strayed over to Abaco and found the available prey good, and the location congenial. As undisputed king of the skies, its daily hunting range was a wide one which would explain the varied sighting locations. I ended: “I’m sticking with this theory unless and until 2 eagles are seen together”.
BALD EAGLE SIGHTINGS REPORTED ON ABACO SINCE c1950 (= ‘ever’)
Here is the list of sightings. They start in 2000, because there are no known reports for Abaco prior to that from when they started to be kept in the 1950s. If anyone has others, I’d be pleased to hear from you.
- 2000 December, location unknown – info from Woody Bracey
- 2001 December – Chicken Farm area – Betsy Bracey
- 2002 December – over Marls opposite Treasure Cay – Woody Bracey
- 2004 Autumn – south of Lynard Cay (after hurricane) – Cheryl Noice
- 2014 Date unknown – circling the power plant – LC
- 2017 March – Big Pine Point, Marls – James Cheesewright
- 2017 Early May – Power plant area – LC
- 2017 May – Marls – Danny Sawyer
- 2017 May – Lubbers / Tahiti Beach area – ‘Kelly’s mom’
- 2017 September – Cross Harbour – Carol Rivard Roberts (with photo)
- 2017 November – Cherokee Road – Howard Pitts
- 2017 November – Bahama Palm Shores / 8-mile beach – Steve Roessler
- 2017 November – Tilloo Bank – Laurie Schreiner (with photo)
Italics = report in comments on Danny Sawyer’s FB page; Blue = added reports to me
The first-ever bald eagle photo on Abaco Sept 2017
The last bald eagle photo on Abaco Nov 2017
Credits: all brilliant ‘eagle landing’ photos, Phil Lanoue with many thanks for use permission; Abaco eagles by Carol Rivard Roberts and Laurie Schreiner; amusing cartoon, Birdorable; thanks to all spotters and reporters.