Standoff on Philips Lake

On this mild February afternoon, most of Philips Lake, south of Columbia, remained frozen but a large flock of Canada geese, joined by a few mallards, had settled on a swath of open water.  For such a large congregation, they were remarkably still and quiet.

The reason for their attentiveness stood just fifty yards away.  A pair of bald eagles, one adult and one immature, lounged on the ice. looking like a couple of prison guards watching the inmates.  The standoff continued for almost an hour, the eagles relocating along the periphery of the open pool from time to time, seemingly intent on spooking the geese into the air.

Eventually, the eagles gave up and flew off in search of less determined prey.  Once they had cleared the area and as I headed for the parking lot, the geese began to celebrate, their loud distinctive honks ringing across the parkland; clearly proud of their victory, they were likely anxious to move on to nearby grasslands for an afternoon meal.