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Eugene Weekly : Viewpoint : 9.1.11




A Tale of Talons

In a stretch of sun between cloud banks

By Charles F. Thielman

This past Sunday, Gail and I spent afternoon hours visiting parks around Fall Creek Reservoir (some 25 miles southeast of Eugene), then headed back driving the thru-Lowell-route. Arriving in Lowell within a big stretch of sunlight between cloud banks, we decide to go to the asphalted boat ramp (adjacent to parking lot, park and lake) to sit in sun and view sparkling blue Dexter Lake.

We sit close, on exposed tree roots at the edge of the lake.

We soon spot an osprey circling and circling, diving and fishing, and s/he catches a fish, a pretty big fish!  Holding the fish in one talon, happy osprey begins to fly east, then, s/he changes direction to fly towards us!  

As this osprey flies closer, now some 40 feet up, two bald eagles swoop in, talons out, real close to the osprey! The osprey drops the fish, the fish lands THUD right in the middle of the asphalt covered, fan-tailed boat ramp.

The osprey departs, seeming to be in a hurry. The bald eagles land in the red cedar tree tops at the edge of the ramp, some 40 feet above us. Now, after going over to look at the dead fish then at the Eagles in tree tops (via Gail's binoculars = WOW), after two women and one small boy come over from the playground and look at the dead fish and the eagles, after Gail and I go back & sit on said roots, I begin to realize that the eagles, who are hesitating up in the tree tops, are reluctant to swoop in to get the dead fish in the middle of the boat ramp. We look up at the eagles. Gail hands me two Taco Bell napkins from her car stash. 

I go over to pick up the yellow-bellied trout to move it. I look up at eagles in tree tops, they look at me and the fish. I bend down and pick up the 6 to 8 lb. fish by the tail via dainty napkin-use, and suddenly see one eagle flying by, crossing the lake, see the other eagle still in red cedar tree-top (whew). Holding the fish at arm's length, arm intact, I walk to lake edge and toss dead trout about 10 feet out into the water. I then walk backwards up the ramp a short ways.  

The bald eagle swoops in from atop red cedar to circle and circle lower above the water and floating fish, its big wings rowing and gliding through the air above blue waters, then this eagle loops out further, then back, flying closer to the water and SWOOSH! Eagle grabs the fish in one talon! And arcs its beautiful big wings to fly across the lake to where its mate is waiting. 

We go back to sit close and just above shoreline, late afternoon sun skipping across ripples. 

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Charles F. Thielman lives and writes prose and poetry in Eugene.