Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Sarheen Cove

We spent two days anchored in Sarheen Cove on the west coast of Prince of Wales Island.  It isn't an overly picturesque place, it isn't very well protected from the weather, but it is on the way if you are heading to the town of Craig.  The main reason we stayed for two days is because there is good shrimping out in front of the cove, and we did well enough to satisfy my cravings for prawn, if only for a little while.  Another reason for us to stay, one we didn't know about until after the fact, was several unusual wildlife experiences that occurred here.
The first thing that happened is that we had a wolf show up on shore just after dark the first night.  We have spotted wolves a couple times in Alaska, but it is pretty rare, and even though we didn't see this one, there is nothing quite like listening to a wolf howl in the darkness.
The victim
The second event is that we witnessed a bald eagle attacking a great blue heron.  I'm not sure how often this happens, but we have never seen it before, and I've never heard of it happening, so I'm guessing it's not very common.  We happened to be on deck and heard the heron squawking, and turned in time to see it drop out of the air into the water just as the eagle flew by.  That was really the first surprise, because I didn't know herons could swim.  I've seen them wading around in the water enough times, but never actually swimming in deep water.
The antagonist

After a few minutes the eagle flew off to a tree on the shore.  The heron waited several more minutes and then took off flying in the other direction.  Sure enough the eagle was waiting, and went streaking across the anchorage to dive at the heron again.  This happened two more times, each time the eagle would go back to shore, the heron would take off flying, and the eagle would give chase until the heron ditched in the water again.  Finally the heron took off in the other direction across the channel and the eagle gave up.
Neither Nicole nor I could figure out what may have started the whole feud.  It seemed like the eagle could have picked the heron out of the water easily enough if it wanted to, they do it to salmon all the time, but it would always give up as soon as the heron landed.  What ever the case, it was an unusual and interesting spectacle to watch.

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