The North Landing River for much of its northern route through Virginia Beach is very narrow and covered with trees. It begins behind Kempsville High School and flows south eventually becoming much wider and emptying into Currituck Sound in Currituck County, NC. In its early days it was channelized by settlers and was a commercial waterway used to get products to market at Kemps Landing. In its southern parts several creeks flow into the North Landing as it becomes wider including the Albemarle and Chesapeake Canal, Oakum Creek, West Neck Creek and others. The North Landing River as it flows past the Honey Bee Golf Course at South Independence Blvd in Virginia Beach has become a gathering place, concentration area, for bald eagles. Why here? As stated above much of the rivers’ route is narrow and tree covered. But at Honey Bee most of the trees have been cleared and the river is well stocked with fish. Many bird species gather here – Great Blue Heron, Belted Kingfisher, various duck specie, gulls, cormorant, merganser, grebe and Bald Eagles. (an excellent reference – Wild River Guide to the North Landing River by Lillie Gilbert and Vickie Shufer)
Yesterday, Feb 24, was a typical day with five bald eagles showing up in the afternoon – an adult and four juveniles of various ages. That set the stage for some conflict and just which tree perch was the best for spotting fish. One of the juvies was wearing a purple band on its left leg, but not able to read the alpha code, so which one?? Here are a few photos I took of the action and the purple banded juvie. Photos copyright Reese F Lukei Jr. Click photos to enlarge.
Well, surely not conclusive without proof, but, the chest feather markings on the last pic eagle on our left sure reminds me of NV!! Amazing pics, Reese!! Thanks so much for sharing them!!! 🙂
Beautiful photographs! So very pleased to know one of ‘the gang’ is holding his own! Thank you for sharing.
This looks like the same conflict that Eagle Peep Pamela Town Monahan posted her pictures of on Facebook’s “Eagle Peeps” page. Were you and she at the golf course at the same time? Very dramatic moments!
Response – Pam arrived just as the action was beginning.
Reese, thank you so much for the information about the North Landing River. Because of the eagle activity at Honey Bee, I became curious about the waterway. I managed to trace it by internet map and car into the neighborhoods south of Kempsville High School, but was unsatisfied as to its source. Yesterday afternoon an eagle, most likely from Honey Bee, circled over my backyard headed east. Looks as if I should have come over there and visited a few more. Great pictures you got, and Pam’s, too.
I love the second photo! Upside down fighting manuver. But I get a feeling half of this fighting is play fighting.. Do you think it may be just pure fun for these sub adults to fly with their talons down and look fearce?
Response – I don’t think any of this action is “play”. It is all a part of learning to fight or flight, called agonistic behavior. It is part of testing a potential competitor. Life for an eagle is challenging and they must know when to stand their ground or back off. This sparring is part of learning which to do.
What wonderful action shots– thank you for posting these, Reese! Is that a (silver??) band on right-hand eagle in pic #3, or am I imagining things?
Response – I had to look closely. I have several other photos of the same action and the eagle is not banded.
Thank you so very much for the pictures. Really super shots~ You are so dedicated and it is appreciated!
Great pictures. It would be worth a trip to Honey Bee just to see them.
Great captures! And very interesting info on the North Landing River. A silver banded adult was observed after Reese left and has been spotted before. Very high wind conditions on the 24th made photography challenging.
I also noticed the “V” pattern on the last pic–eagle on the left. I wondered if that might be NV as if I remember correctly he had a pronounced “V” on his chest.
Response – Not NV because not banded.
Love these shots, and of course the info too. Its great knowing that our subadults have a nice area to hang and hunt with eagle folks keeping watch over them. Thanks for these really terrific, fast action pics!
Awesome pictures. I absolutely love the juvies, they are so beautiful. Thanks Reese.
Outstanding. Just outstanding.