Yesterday we went to Sheffield Mills (15 minutes from our house) for the annual Eagle Watch Pancake Breakfast. I was in a horrible mood, not much sleep, nervous that Sprout was going to have a hard time in the car, and in no head space to console children who didn't see an eagle, if none were to be seen. I really thought we should just STAY HOME and eat pancakes I made for lunch. But Papa Pan would have none of it.
Grumbly, I went.
I am so glad we did.
First of all, the pancake breakfast was phenomenal - great pancakes, fantabulous preserved blueberries on top and REAL sausages, I assume from a local farm because everything else was, apple juice, and yummy fair trade Just Us! coffee. Everything was hot and well cooked and just plain finger licking good. While we ate we listened to a local harpist play and sing. Nature Girl has an incredible ear and when she wasn't focussed intently on licking up every last bit of blueberry sauce from her plate, she was watching the harpist and telling me where she'd heard each song before.
I steeled myself for our next event, eagle watching. Oh fun I thought, lets go driving around back roads looking for roosts in ravines and "my oh my" won't it be fun to look for those raptor shaped specks in the sky??? As soon as we left the community hall Nature Girl and Wild Thing started bickering over who got to hold the binoculars and Papa Pan disappeared into the community hall to get something. We went to put Sprout in the car and he balked at the idea; we went through the drumstick debaucle there on the side of the road. But I was pleasantly surprised to hear an eagle cry over the whining, and see two specks in the sky so it might not be a lost cause. But I was getting grumpy again.
Papa Pan had gotten a map and we drove 3 minutes away from the Hall and parked with about 2 dozen other people along side the road. I looked across the road and WOW!!!! There were 50 to 100 bald eagles hanging out in a field!!!!! There were atleast 30 sitting in trees around the field and just hanging out in the farm yard next door!!!! Mature eagles, juveniles, ravens, a few bold gulls were feeding in this field!!! This is where the local egg farmers "bring out their dead".
I now understand why, despite the mild weather, no one lets their chickens out in winter!!!!
We showed up late, on a good morning you can see upwards of 300 eagles at a time.
It was great!
Afterwards I had raptor eyes and noticed even more - red tail hawks and more bald eagles feeding on the mud flats (shellfish I guess) as we drove home.
So, if someone suggests bird watching as a winter activity for the whole family in the Annapolis Valley, definitely go!!!