Eagles and a Walk in Reverse

I can not figure out what these eagles are doing. First one in the mottled feathers of an immature bird lands on this beach. Three crows then arrive to surround him. A fully mature eagle dives, yellow talons extended to drive off the crows. Rather than thank the new arrival, the immature eagle looks away down the beach in a sulk. Two more mature eagles arrive. One lands on the beach and one, to add to the strangeness, lands in a few inches of water just offshore. Is the water bird pinning a scrap of food under the surface? In minutes they all fly over our heads and land in tall spruce trees. We move off for a walk in reverse. 

Aki hasn’t expressed a trail preference today but I want to walk somewhere dry where beauty will be enhanced by the sunlight now breaking through the scattered marine layer of clouds. To add spice on this early spring day we start at the trail’s end and walk to the beginning. In this direction the trail through old growth forest drops quickly to the beach.  Aki shows patience while I stop often to admire the translucent white blueberry blossoms so recently released from the bud and listen to male grouse drum their seductive rhythm of bird love out to the girls. The forest smells like moss washed clean by winter storms.

The tide is out when we reach the beach so I cruise the tide pools looking for life. Aki pokes her nose toward the surface of one deep pool then pulls back suddenly when a tiny sculpin disturbs the water surface. I have the pools to myself after that.  Great herds of tiny periwinkle snails crowd the shallow basins but one green sea anemone decorates a deeper one. A deadly bloom, it holds a captured  critter in the bell of its flower.

We share the beach with a few crows, gulls and one raven who eats an apple under the beachside alders. Time to climb off the beach and take the clifftop trail back to old growth woods. Here the hardness of winter has left its mark. Aki finds an burst of gray-white gull feathers released by retreating snow. We must constantly detour to avoid storm blown trees blocking the trail. At several places we pass through wooden caves formed by the large root wads of tumbled spruce and hemlock trees. In open areas newly hatched mosquitos hover together in tight groups, their drying wings glittering in shafts of sunlight. It is a relief to return to the more peaceful forest trail.

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