Skinner Butte Bald Eagles’ Nest

March 27, 2008

Fifteen eagle-seekers gathered on the north side of Skinner Butte on the only sunny morning in a cold and rainy week. From the Lamb Cottage we spotted the eagles’ tree with its double top and nest at the fork. As we walked up the trail, the sun glittered on raindrops, and the woods were full of Trillium and birdsong. We heard the eagle’s descending, chittering call and then saw it flying overhead, pursued by a screaming osprey. At a viewpoint near the base of the eagles’ tree, we had an excellent view of the underside of the nest, but couldn’t see its occupant. When we reached the east end of the summit, the ospreys were working at gathering sticks for their nest. We saw an osprey fly at a branch and fail to break it. When it returned to the nest with empty talons, there was much loud conversation with its mate. We walked westward on the wooded summit trail, which gives good views of the eagles' nest at nest level. An eagle was sitting low in the nest, incubating eggs in our opinion. At the west end of the summit, we again watched the ospreys’ domestic discourse. Rick Ahrens called our attention to the plunging aerial display of a male Anna’s hummingbird. Then we re-entered the woods and headed down the trail to our starting point. A sketch map of the butte showing trails and viewpoints for eagle and osprey nests is available from the trip leaders.

Hikers were: Rick Ahrens, Brad Bennett, Jean Coberly, Walt Dolliver, Jim Duncan, Sharon Duncan, Margaret Essenberg, Richard Essenberg, Janet Jacobsen, Barb Revere, Ruth Simon, Pat Soussan, Sally Bennett, John Giles and Mary Lou Giles.

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