Higher Percentage Play

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An adult bald eagle, white head feathers damp with rain, perches on a pond-side spruce tree. It appears to study two new additions to the pond—large net pens full of fingerling king salmon. A net covers the pens, placed there to protect the natal fish from eagles and the resident river otters.

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It’s low tide so the other resident eagles are out on the exposed tidelands scrabbling for scraps. That’s the higher percentage move for predators on this rain-soaked day. But if the eagle that Aki and I are watching manages to overcome the pens’ protective net, it would be in an avian fiddler’s green.

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We won’t see much else of interest during this visit to the Fish Creek delta. A couple of dog walkers driving a herd of large bred canines will have already flushed out the birds. As we walk toward the creek mouth, a yellow lab will break away from its owner and splash over the creek and wetlands to play with Aki. But these dog antics will have no effect on the newly arrived tree swallows, that will arc over and around the little dog and I as they hunt for mosquitoes.

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