Scores of eagles hang out around a fishing harbor, ever alert to an easy meal whether it be a herring swimming too close to the surface, an unwary duckling or small pet, scraps tossed away from a boat or the fish cleaning stations, whatever. These large birds perch high up in unlikely places, scanning the water with an "eagle eye", ready to swoop down and grab an easy snack. How do they keep balanced atop sailboat masts, trolling poles or stabilizers while they wait?
Yesterday, after the departure of the seine fleet, the near-empty harbor seemed unusually quiet. Only an occasional raucous cry of a seagull or cackle from a seagull pierced the air, until.....
A large eagle flew past at boat level, followed by an entire eagle squadron in screaming hot pursuit. They wove in and out among the masts and piling, over a dozen of those big guys eager to snatch a herring from the beak of the group leader. No tight formation for this group, they twisted and turned in complete disarray as it was every bird for itself. And then they were gone. Out of sight past South Harbor, heading toward the ferry dock, their shrill squawks faded away and the harbor returned to a quiet state.
Typically it's the ravens task to harass an eagle, hoping to catch a dropped morsel. Not today. Today the ravens settled for raiding the unattended buckets of Petersburg herring left by unwary fishermen. Well, I don't think I'd mess with a squadron of eagles either.