‘EAGLE EYES’: NEW BALD EAGLE SIGHTING(S) ON ABACO
In March, I posted about a bald eagle spotted by a Delphi fisherman out on the Marls near Big Pine Point. He didn’t know it at the time, but it was a very rare sighting of this magnificent raptor. The bird is classified for Abaco as a V4, which is to say an extremely unusual vagrant (but not quite a ‘one-off’ V5).
You can read all the details HERE, but to summarise, the only previous Abaco sightings were 3 years running over 2000 – 2002, at the end of each year. The annual visits over such a short time-span suggest that this may have been the same bird each time. So this March’s report is possibly the second bald eagle ever seen on Abaco… and on any view, the fourth.
Now comes the news of another bald eagle sighting in the last couple of days on the Marls, this time by Danny Sawyer while out fishing. The bird was sighted approx 1.5 miles west of the airport / 2 miles south of Bustic Point. Danny’s FB post has unsurprisingly attracted quite a number of comments – and even some more sighting reports. Here’s the list so far…
BALD EAGLE SIGHTINGS REPORTED ON ABACO SINCE c1950 (= ‘ever’)
- 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)
Italics indicate a report in comments on Danny’s FB page; Blue = added reports
So far, however, there has been no photograph of an ‘Abaco’ bald eagle. It’s fair to say that the official verification of a sighting generally requires a photograph – more especially where there is a risk of confusion with a native bird (eg some warblers). But there really is no mistaking a bald eagle. For obvious reasons it is surely one of the most recognisable raptors of all. And the only Abaco candidates for confusion would be a turkey vulture or an osprey. A quick look shows very little scope for confusion with either:
Bald eagle in flight. Note: dark brown, head & tail bright white, huge yellow beak and feet
Turkey vulture & Osprey for comparison. No comparison, in fact
ABACO BALD EAGLE CHALLENGE
How about being the first person to capture an Abaco bald eagle on
film digital media? The kudos! The traditional Rolling Harbour bottle of Kalik is already on ice in the expectation of a usable image, together with the accurate location… Failing that, all reports welcome anyway.
Credits: all brilliant eagle photos by very kind permission of Brian Lockwood, taken in his backyard in Poquoson, Va. except eagle in flight, Carol Robertson (wiki); TUVU (Bruce Hallett); Osprey (Craig Nash); Amusing Cartoon, Birdorable