Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Father's Day ~ Bald Headed Eagles ~ South Thompson River

Father’s Day is celebrated the third Sunday of June in Canada, as well as in many other countries around the world.   The day originated in the United States in 1910 when Sonora Smart Dodds of Spokane, Washington wanted to honor her dad.  Canada followed the next year and we’ve been celebrating Father’s Day yearly since then.

The high river water is calm for our boat ride
South Thompson River at Kamloops, BC, Canada
The day is to honor those fathers and father figures who contribute to the lives of their children, much like we celebrate Mothers Day in May.  It is a great opportunity to spend family time together and enjoy the day, no matter how you might choose to do that.
View from the boat as we face east on the South Thompson River
Father's Day on the South Thompson River, Kamloops, BC
We were invited to share our Father’s Day celebration boating on the South Thompson River.  The day began with a blue sky and promises of summer temperatures so we all gathered to get on board and enjoy the special afternoon. 
Russian olive is a sage colored tree that lines much of the S. Thompson river east of Kamloops
Russian Olive trees line the South Thompson River
The South Thompson River, like many other rivers at this time of year is still carrying much of the snow melt coming down from the mountains so although we are not being threatened with any flooding this year, the river is high and leaves no beaches to moor the boat at.  The water level will recede later in the summer and that will allow for beaches along the river.  
Duck Range can be seen from the river
Duck Range overlooks South Thompson River
We leisurely boated up the river for awhile, stopped along the river’s edge to eat lunch, where we did see a deer dash away too quickly for a photo.  After lunch we slowly drifted back downstream as we enjoyed the great company and peaceful river ride.
A bald headed eagle sits high in the tree
Bald Headed Eagle high above South Thompson River
The surprise of the day was hearing there was a bald headed eagle in a tree up ahead.  My camera, almost always ready, jumped into action.  Then, along with others reminding me, realized I had a new big camera lens to use that would surely give me some better photos, so I quickly put that onto the camera……and voila!  I do love my new lens! 
The eagle checks us out as we pass by.
Bald headed eagle watches as we pass by
I could hardly wait to see the results of the photos I was able to take as we floated by this beautiful bird.  He was sitting in this barren tree, as they’re wont to do, just watching the day go by.  He was not particularly interested in us and made no attempt to leave his viewpoint.  It is very difficult to judge his size but a guess would be close to a metre (about 3 ft.) high. 
The eagle holds tightly with his talons
Bald  headed eagle sits proudly in the tree
I was hoping that once I got all the photos I could, that he might decide to leave so I could get a photo (or many photos) of him in flight.  A full grown eagle’s wingspan can be anywhere from 2 or more metres (72-90”), so a great photo that would make, but he was happy to just stay where he was and enjoy the view.
The eagles sits alertly to watch for food.
The bald headed eagle watches the S. Thompson River
Our biggest bald headed eagles viewing was in the Fall of 2011 on a drive along the highway that runs parallel to the South Thompson River but that was not to happen today.  There are eagles that do call the area home but that particular day was an exception for us to see so many.  If you wish to see those eagles, click here.  I believe the population in the spring is low but I wasn’t able to find a current count.
The bald headed eagle is watchful of all around him
Bald headed eagle sits high above the river
I was left wondering if this was a ‘father’ eagle that we saw on Father’s Day but we shall never know. There is a size difference between male and female eagles but without comparison, we cannot tell. Eagles mate for life and are both involved in feeding and raising their young. The bald headed eagle is a great example of a family man in the bird world.
In honor of the day of this sighting, though, I say that he is a father and perhaps he is on a fishing trip. For now, he proudly sits high above the South Thompson River, enjoying the quiet and knowing he “contributed to the lives of his children”. 

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for pictures of places I did not know existed, in the surrounding area. They are terrific, as usual. I will try to forward to friends here who have visited Kamloops, and have commened on the scenery,etc.