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WOODS ‘N’ WATER: In Connecticut, eagles are soaring once again

WOODS ‘N’ WATER: In Connecticut, eagles are soaring once again

One of the most amazing things in my outdoor world is the fact that I am no longer amazed by the sight of a bald eagle in Connecticut.

I have seen them soaring over our home on Dogwood Lane. I have seen them on Black Pond as well as Hanover Pond and the Quinnipiac River.

And, just recently, Edna and I were on a ride on the road that goes past Lake Beseck and spotted an eagle right in the middle of the road.

At first, from a distance, I thought it might be a turkey buzzard because of its size, but as we got closer the very prominent white head and tail became visible. The bird took to wing and looked regal as it left the ground.

In earlier columns I have told of eagle sightings. Most of them were up in the northern New England states. However, they have now returned to Connecticut and their numbers are on the increase.

Upon returning home, still excited about my eagle sighting (everything in our great outdoors still excites me), I had to turn to my July/August copy of Connecticut Wildlife magazine published bimonthly by the DEEP Bureau of Natural Resources and the Wildlife Division.

In it was an article titled “It Used to Be Easy” by Brian Hess and featuring some remarkable photos by Paul J. Fusco, both of the DEEP Wildlife Division. It was an article about Connecticut’s eagles.

The article said that, “In 2019, Connecticut smashed records for the number of active territories (64; previous record 55), number of successful nests (45; previous record 38), and number of chicks (81; previous record 68). In addition, 14 new nesting territories were reported in 2019 with six of those new nest being successful in raising chicks.”

Back in the “good old days,” who would ever have thought that a pesticide (DDT) would have such an effect on so many wild birds like eagles and ospreys?

The Connecticut Wildlife article went on to say, “By 1999, 20 years ago, only two nesting territories were active in the state. That season neither pair were successful and no chicks were produced.

“A decade later the eagle population had begun to climb. In 2009 Connecticut had 19 territories, producing 31 chicks. By this point the Wildlife Division had to rely on volunteers to help collect some of the data.”

The article concluded, “As the number of eagle population continues to grow, struggling with the number of nests to monitor is a wonderful problem to have.”

Connecticut Wildlife is a wonderful source of information on just about everything wild in Connecticut. You can get the bimonthly magazine for $8 for one year, $15 for two years and $20 for three years at Connecticut Wildlife, P.O. Box 1550, Burlington, CT 06013.

Cast & Blast

For many outdoorsmen and women, the arrival of fall promises a new season in the great outdoors and a time to say goodbye to summer. For a number of years now, the Meriden Rod & Gun Club has heralded the arrival of fall with what they now call “The Annual Cast & Blast.”

The 2019 Cast & Blast is next Sunday, Oct. 20, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the Meriden Rod & Gun Club grounds at 12 Raven Lane, South Meriden.

It’s a great time for anyone who enjoys the outdoors and provides a chance to try and hook up with some fresh stocked trout in the club pond.

The archery and shooting ranges will also be open for those with the proper firearms permits (pistol permit).

The Cast & Blast event has been growing each year and this year looks to be even better. The Cast & Blast features food all day, including hot dogs, burgers and chili (though you never know what Rich Kruglic and the kitchen crew will come up with next).

The trout pond will open to fishing at 10 a.m. and the range at 11 a.m. There will also be a huge raffle and the day promises to be fun for all.

Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children ages 8-14. What better way to usher in the arrival of fall and the departure of summer? Cast & Blast takes place rain or shine. We hope to see you there!

Bear & coyotes

No, they are not going to go away. I have been receiving a number of reports on the sightings of black bears and coyotes in our surrounding areas and just want to make you aware of them.

Black bears have been sighted in Meriden on West Peak (Hubbard Park) and a good friend of mine, Kyle Cooney, sent me a photo of a HUGE black bear in his back yard on Meriden Road in Southington.

I have also heard of a coyote walking down Raymond Road in South Meriden in broad daylight.

It looks like some of the critters are getting bolder and bolder. Regarding the coyotes, we should be encouraging trapping them, rather than trying to outlaw trapping.

As for our black bear overpopulation, I guess as the saying goes, “ignorance is bliss” and it looks like our legislators are making that their motto. (YES, I will keep harping on that until they give the DEEP Wildlife Division the support they need to bring down the number of black bears here in Connecticut.)

See ya’ and God Bless America and watch over our troops wherever they may be serving this great country of ours.