There is a fine line with regards to areas like this. You want to bring peoples attention to it so they are aware of just what a special place it is and how important it is to preserve it…but on the other hand, you don’t want to bring so much awareness that the area, and especially it’s avian occupants, are pressured by over enthusiasm. Unfortunately, it appears, that for the moment at least, that fine line has been breached.
Late last week one of our local newscasts did a feature on the number of Bald Eagles in the Harrison/Chehalis/Upper Fraser Valley area…and the results of that newscast have been evident. I didn’t even venture near the estuary over the weekend, but I heard numerous reports on the numbers of persons in the area and the pressure they were putting on the few Bald Eagles brave enough to stay around and witnessed first hand the numbers of vehicles and occupants patrolling all along the number 7 highway.
Today the results of that pressure remain evident…nary an Eagle to be seen! and at least a dozen persons patrolling the path that I usually have almost completely to myself. In all fairness there were a few Eagles flying over head and perhaps a dozen scattered about but even those that were here were extremely skittish…where last week myself and other locals could walk under eagles perched in trees or past ones that were down on the ground feeding (at a respectable distance of course!)…today the slightest human movement sent the bird scurrying away…I suspect too much ‘having to get just a bit closer’ over the weekend!
A neighbour who has lived here almost as long as I have remarked on the fact that he had never seen so many eagles in the trees on the hillside to the west of the estuary as he had this past weekend. The reason is obvious – the hillside is completely inaccessible to humans! This was an area the birds could perch without interference.
With all the human activity along the trail the only thing brave enough to show their face were a few Black-capped Chickadees…a handful of Red-wing Blackbirds flew over and a couple of Steller’s Jay hid in the bushes.
It was a bit more peaceful over at my end…there were quite a few ducks in the water but where last week Eagles happily stayed feeding on this shoreline…today, there were none..
What we need now are a few days of bad weather to put an end to the ‘enthusiasm’ and allow the birds to relax and get back to their normal routines.