immature bald eagle; Hot creek; gov't fish hatchery

Observers: Donna Willey
Date: 02/02/2008
Time: 10:48 PM -0500

Storm after storm has come wailing into the high mountain areas around Mammoth and if you are a "local" you must get out and keep moving or risk going stir crazy. I have seen signs of this lately but this is not the place to submit a post on the craziness that comes with wind, snow and more snow. Along the Hot creek road there is much wildlife, especially birdlife, rodents and coyotes. During the winter when my routine hiking spot lies buried under many feet of snow I switch my daily hiking route to the Hot creek road. This road also lies impassable to cars under several feet of snow when the plow that opens it goes elsewhere. However, it becomes an ideal hiking trail and there near the fish camp and the trout hatchery one can watch the first winter, immature bald eagle who sits patiently on the telephone poles overlooking the hatchery. At times this young bird is kept company by several raucous ravens. Great blue herons and magpies share ground and air space and now that duck-hunting season has ceased, the ducks cautiously return. But in all this birdlife, it is the young baldy that my eye searches for and finding him perched on his overlook I smile to myself and think he must be a match for all the catch-and-release trout fisherman who wander up here to this high sierra wilderness.