Sunday Morning Ballet


Walking along the final kilometer of the Mendenhall River Aki and I find ourselves uninvited guests at a ballet.  It starts with bored eagles sunning themselves in the lee side of beach side spruce.L1200417 An immature one looks down at Aki with distain, not hungary interest—surprising at the end of the winter famine when cats and small dogs are hunted for their meat.  The little poodle mix doesn’t buy it and walks closely at my heel when we pass under the eagle’s tree.

Ducks, not yet flushed by our presence or the incoming tide sleep tucked up against the beach. They don’t wake even when the first act opens across the river with the shadows of passing eagles setting a huge flock of gulls, all painfully white in the morning light, to flight. They quickly drop to sand bar and sea for better access to the concentration of bait fish (herring or sand lances?) that have drawn them to this exposed place.

L1200438The real show takes place later when a conference of bald eagles lift off from a large sand bar and begin an ariel dance with steps too complicated to follow. None dives to snatch food from the sea; each action a reaction to another dancer. Are they jockeying for good fishing spots for when the income tide delivers the next pulse of fish, showing off for the girls,or simply dancing to welcome in Spring?

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