On Thursday July 15 I made a visit to the Tidewater Research Station operated by the North Carolina Dept. of Agriculture near Plymouth, NC to see if I could locate Azalea and to see if there were any other bald eagles wearing purple leg bands. Our last satellite data as of 6:00pm July 14 showed that Azalea was perched in a tree near the TRS fish ponds, so that is where I went. Since this is a restricted access site, I made arrangements with the manager before going. TRS is involved with many aspects of agriculture research including crops, cattle and fish.
When I arrived at 7:00am the area was fog bound, but by 7:30 the fog began to burn off and the temperature began to rise to broiling. So, did I find Azalea or any other banded eagles? NO!! However, the trip was very productive. I did find about 40 bald eagles and was able to see the legs of 30 of them to determine they wore no bands. Seven of the eagles were adults including two that were first year adults – still had a few brown feathers in their head. A few were 4-year olds with head and tail feathers beginning to turn white. The others were younger with many being first year eagles born this year. The really big question is – where did they all come from? Only one bald eagle nest is known about locally. Every time an eagle flew I checked it with my binocs to see if it had an antenna – no Azalea.
In the top photo taken as the fog was lifting there are 8 eagles in the two trees. One is hard to see because it is mostly behind the lower tree trunk on the right. Only adult is on far right. The rest are immature. The bottom photo was taken later in the morning on the far east side of the catfish ponds from a public road. There are 10 eagles in this pine tree, a couple hard to see, but they are there. One adult on far left, two 4-year olds and 7 immature. Photos by Reese F. Lukei Jr.