THE ABACO BALD EAGLE(S): AWOL IN 2018


Bald Eagle in flight (Phil Lanoue)

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.

Bald Eagle (Phil Lanoue)

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.

Bald Eagle (Phil Lanoue) Bald Eagle (Phil Lanoue) Bald Eagle (Phil Lanoue) Bald Eagle (Phil Lanoue)

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

Carol Rivard Roberts

The last bald eagle photo on Abaco Nov 2017

Laurie Schreiner

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.

Bald Eagle (Phil Lanoue)

6 thoughts on “THE ABACO BALD EAGLE(S): AWOL IN 2018

  1. When I first read the title, I thought, wow, bald eagles in Abaco? Then I read your post and the rarity makes sense. Even just having a few sightings is very exciting. Such a regal bird, came to visit, how lovely. And Mr. Lanoue’s photos are truly a treat. Always great to see what’s happening on Abaco, thanks, RH.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Jet, many thanks – this is an example of getting what I wished for! I’ve flushed out two quite recent sightings of a juvenile in the same general area, by 2 unconnected people. So I am out-of-date within 24 hours! Still, anyone could be forgiven for not recognising the juv of a bird they wouldn’t be expecting to see anyway!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Not AWOL in 2018!
    Along with 3 birders from Scotland we sighted an immature Bald Eagle over the marls as viewed from Sunset Estates flying high with 2 Turkey Vultures band a male Magnificent Frigatebird..
    The eagle was all dark brown with white windows on the underwing and an abdomen splotched with white streaks. The eagle at one point went into a steep dive and splashed into the water to catch a fish in its talons.
    The sighting was reported on ebird. It was too far out and high in the sky to get a photograph but we had great views of it in my 20-60X KOWA spotting scope.
    What a fortunate find! The Scots (Neilsons) were most delighted as was I.
    Elwood D. Bracey, MD

    Liked by 1 person

    • Rewrite needed!!! Must be a different bird to last year’s which was an adult. Shoulda checked eBird first! Just hearing about one over Man-o-War – I’ve flushed them from cover by writing about them… hope all ok with you both. K 🦅

      Like

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