The local Bald Eagle pair that are the current
inhabitants of the Ortega Eagle nest (which
has been occupied for decades) have recently
been staying close together and occasionally
have been flying in a somewhat synchronized
manner, not quite courtship flight but a preamble
to that. A second pair has been hanging around
the area for the past couple of weeks and may
be preparing to nest in the area as well.
Early this afternoon two of the birds were spiraling
around each other, starting high then spiraling
downward. One of the other birds flew in for a
closer look. One of the pair peeled off, hit the
afterburners and went straight for the intruder.
The chase most closely resembled a Jaeger
chasing a gull. The new bird twisted and turned
staying just ahead of the pursuer. They zipped
over the deck house at high speed and low
altitude, about twenty feet up, then right around
the corner of the building and out of sight. The
pursuing bird and his (or her) mate were calling
pretty much continuously. After about half a minute
he reappeared, flying at a leisurely pace back to
his mate. A while later they were circling over the
river while the other pair also returned but kept
a respectful distance.

As the (extremely high) spring tide receded the
dockmaster yelled to get my attention. He was
pointing out at the river starting to the left then
swept his arm all the way over to the right. The
entire visible area of the Ortega River had hundreds
of mullet jumping out of the water. At any given
moment and in any given section I looked at there
were forty to fifty fish in the air. I grabbed my binocs
and could see that this spectacle continued up
river thence turning into Cedar River. The fish were
jumping from shore to shore but were clearly
turning into Cedar River rather than continuing up
the Ortega. This show lasted for about forty five
minutes till the bulk of the fish were out of sight.
There have been many mullet jumping around here
lately but I have never seen anything like this. I have
seen large, compact schools of baitfish jumping to
elude predators but never hundreds of one pound
mullet spread over a large area.
I posted a short video on YouTube. It doesn't begin
to do justice to the spectacle but it does give some
idea of what it was like. Sorry about the annoying
sounds of me trying to suck air into my normally
smoke-filled lungs.

Bob Richter
Baker County


FLORIDABIRDS-L Listserv mailing list information:
Member  photos  I:
For archives:;
To set nomail: Send [log in to unmask] Message: set floridabirds-l
To reset mail:  [log in to unmask] MESSAGE: set floridabirds-l mail;
To unsubscribe: [log in to unmask] MESSAGE: unsub floridabirds-l;
To write listowners: [log in to unmask]
Jack Dozier memorial: