It’s mid-morning on the Sheep Creek Delta. The ebb tide has sucked the delta almost dry. The creek, charged by recent rain, makes its noisy way to Gastineau Channel. Aki, why are all these eagles here? The little dog ignores my question and the eagles. Most of the big birds are creek side. One stands in the water trying to wrangle something onto a gravel bar.
The streams gallomps and I look for the source of the sound, expecting to see a late arriving salmon splashing back into the creek. No fish ghosts along the stream bottom. The spawn is gone. So, for a few seconds, is my little dog. With a dozen eagles within a few hundred yards of me, this raises concern. I spot the poodle-mix fifty meters away, sniffing a clump of beach grass. No eagle stirs to flight. I’m back with the little guy before one does.
We inadvertently flush a water dipper. It flies low and lands across the stream. Something in the stream must be keeping it and the eagles here. For the dipper it could be insects or small fish. The eagles prefer salmon. It doesn’t matter if they are dead or alive. Maybe these eagles filled up on salmon carcasses that wash up on the delta. Or maybe they have been hammering invisible salmon.