Golden Eagles Soar Over Kimber Park

Hoping to take advantage of the rainwater in an incoming storm, I was busily repotting outside on Halloween day when I heard an unusual bird call. Kimber Park is a haven for many of our feathered friends, with many species living here. I’ve been practicing recognizing birds just by their calls, but this one was a toughy. Here is what it sounded like:

Finally it dawned on me — it was the bark (yep, that’s what it’s called) of a Golden Eagle! I had heard the same call this summer, when I saw three eagles, two adults and a juvenile, soaring over the Fremont hills, just east of Kimber. I left my yard work and quickly grabbed my camera. I was soon watching as four eagles soared high overhead. I had not seen them since summertime, but the unsettled wind of the incoming storm seemed to be a joy for them to take advantage of, as they wheeled overhead, west of the foothills.

Here is a picture of one of the Goldens as it flies over Kimber Park, near one of the big resident Red-Tailed Hawks.

Golden Eagle and Red-Tailed Hawk Soar Over Kimber Park

Suddenly that Red-Tailed looks a lot smaller!

The best time to see them is early afternoon. They are typically only overhead for a short time, but they seem to linger if storm winds are blowing  I have seen as many a four aloft at once.

The Red-Tailed Hawks will sometimes attempt to drive them off, which can lead to some amazing interactions. The Eagles may flip over or quickly turn and flash their talons, which always leads to a quick defensive maneuver by the Red-Tailed. It all happens in a split-second.

I would recommend keeping a pair of binoculars handy if you are in the neighborhood and outside early afternoon, especially over the next month or so. They are so graceful and majestic, and they live in our backyard!

If you do see them, please let me know. Feel free to comment to this post and help get the word out.

Seventh Raptor Species Photographed Using Kimber Park Open Space in 2012!

After waiting and watching for over a year, a seventh raptor species was recently photographed on the Kimber Park Open Space! It is somewhat ironic that this top predator is one most well-known of the resident raptors to Kimber Park residents. Why was it so hard to photograph? It’s nocturnal!

Here’s the list of Kimber Park raptors seen either breeding or hunting on the Kimber Park Open Space (in 2012 alone):

  1. Red-Tailed Hawk
  2. Red-Shouldered Hawk
  3. White-Tailed Kite
  4. American Kestrel
  5. Turkey Vulture
  6. Barn Owl

And now for number seven:  the Great-Horned Owl!

Anyone living or hiking here cannot help but hear their nightly hooting sessions, as they call to find mates and establish territory. The Kimber Park area is a prized owl habitat, with the many large trees, verdant meadows and foothills, all near one another.

Here’s a picture of a Great-Horned on the Kimber Park Open Space itself, surveying for prey, taken on April 30th, 2012 (click on any picture to see it enlarged):

Great-Horned Owl

Great-Horned Owl surveys the Kimber Park Open Space at dusk.

The owl’s nest was located earlier this year, at the top of a Eucalyptus tree. The owls themselves remained hidden for much of the year. Nesting season is upon us, and the Great-Horned is one of the earliest raptors to nest. They have raised two owlets that are nearly ready to fledge:

Great-Horned Owl and Owlets

A Great-Horned Owl with Two Owlets in a Kimber Park Eucalyptus

With the additional mouths to feed, the owls have begun hunting earlier in the evening and were thus active when they could be photographed.

They are absolutely silent alight. Here’s a recent picture of one of the parents flying at dusk recently.

Great-Horned Owl

Kimber Park Great-Horned Owl Alight

Should you soon take an early evening walk by the Kimber Park Open Space, especially when you are near the eastern half of the Mission Hills Tennis Club property, look to the tops of the Redwoods and Oaks. You have a very good chance of seeing one of the parents hunting for their nearly fledged owlets. If you are very lucky you might even see them plucking a hapless gopher or other rodent from the Open Space meadow.

Perhaps soon the babies themselves will be hunting in Kimber Park, before they find their own territories. 🙂

Working together, we can keep Fremont’s Open Space open. Learn more by visiting the Protect Fremont Open Space website.