I was out on Pardee Reservoir this morning, taking part in the Eagle Watch sponsored by East Bay MUD. The reservoir has 37 miles of coastline and is surrounded by protected land. Winter is nesting time for bald eagles. Earlier in January the rangers had surveyed the reservoir to identify their nests.
Our pontoon boat went up as far as Pardee Dam – the ranch overlooks the Mokelumne River behind the dam. We went a short way along the downward run of the Mokelumne away from the dam, where shoreline cliffs provide a natural habitat for eagles. We saw six nesting pairs of bald eagles on our route, and a bonus of golden eagles, ravens, red-tailed hawks, ospreys and other water fowl.
We spent three hours on the water, cold but bright with sunshine. I sat next to the professional photographers with telephoto lenses. The ranger was accommodating: a photographer would yell out “Bald eagle at two o’clock!” and he would guide the boat into the shore. I need to come back to this next year.