On Thursday, July 19, NH Audubon raptor biologist Chris Martin and volunteer Jack Dorsey paddled a short section of the Connecticut River along River Road in West Chesterfield, NH. They were following up on a report of an active Bald Eagle nest on the east side of the river that replaced another tree on the west bank in Dummerston, VT that snapped off in Fall 2017. Jack took some incredible photos to document their search. From mid-river, they spotted the new eagle nest in a live white pine on a ridge several hundred yards inland from the Connecticut River. While the nest was empty, Chris and Jack could hear food-begging calls from two different spots in the general direction of the nest.
Paddling a short distance up a tributary brook, they passed under a perched adult eagle on a branch 30 feet overhead and saw that the bird was color-banded. Jack’s photos confirmed that this eagle was Black A/P, a bird hatched in 2010 at a nest upriver in Plainfield, NH. This eagle was documented since 2014 to be the breeding male at the Dummerston nest. He was also photographed by Dara Carleton at Retreat Meadows in Brattleboro, VT in May 2018.
Shortly after Black A/P flew, both juvenile eagles which had been hiding in thick foliage by the brook also launched into the air. In the end, this field visit confirmed that the breeding territory was successful again, fledging two of New Hampshire’s more than 60 eaglets in 2018.
And add one more nest to New Hampshire’s total, and subtract one from Vermont’s list!