There was a lull at work today leaving me with about 2 hours before I was to meet up with some buddies for some serious sweating in the racquetball court; so I jumped at the chance to go birding (however brief) at Mingo NWR.
Deadlocked at 98 species and trying to get to 100 species today, I decided to try for LeConte's Sparrow and Black Vulture there at Mingo. No luck on either species. In fact, I am sad to say that I only observed one (1) Turkey Vulture.
At Rockhouse Marsh overlook, I took special interest in the agitated Canada Geese (below the overlook platform), thinking there might be a Bald Eagle nearby and harrassing them. Some time passed and the agitation continued. I watched on as an immature Bald Eagle did pass by although too far away to be the cause of the geese's distress. Shorty after the geese all lifted off the water in unison and headed eastward then flying up and over the trees to the north did I see the immature Golden Eagle at eye level cruise by. By far, the closest I have ever been to this species - a magnificent bird!
The blonde head was clearly visible without binoculars as it was maybe 100 yards away. The white rump patch was visible, and I confirmed (through the binoculars) the black terminal band on the tail. I feel confortable in saying that this is the same individual observed during the Mingo CBC as this bird also did NOT have the white wing patches as was the case on CBC date.
Stuck at 99 species, but there's hope. I have inside information on a Bewick's Wren and possible Ferruginous Hawk in the county - both would be Lifers for me. I'll post them should I locate them!