Sue’s timely encounter with eagles at Big Beef Creek

A bald eagle lands at Hood Canal near Seabeck.
Kitsap Sun photo by Larry Steagall

I took a call yesterday while attending a Puget Sound Partnership meeting in Edmonds. My wife Sue was calling. She had taken the “long way” home and was standing at the mouth of Big Beef Creek on Hood Canal near Seabeck.

“There sure are a lot of eagles here,” she informed me.

“How many?” I asked.

“I’ll count them,” she said, and began counting rapidly, “One, two, three, four, five….”

Big Beef Creek is a great spot to watch eagles in the spring. A bridge on Seabeck Highway crosses the stream, and the road has room on both sides to pull over.

Sue kept counting as I listened on the phone, “30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35…”

She was getting into some lofty numbers. A neighbor who lives near Seabeck Creek once told me that he had counted 45 eagles there at one time. I was surprised, given that the most I have seen is barely half that number.

But Sue was still counting rapidly, “45, 46, 47, 48, 49….”

The best time to view the eagles is at maximum low tide, and Sue was there yesterday just as the extreme low tide was turning. The eagles were everywhere on the tideflats, dining on small fish and crabs.

To my amazement, she kept on counting, “55, 56, 57, 58, 59, 60,” and she stopped. “Sixty eagles,” she announced.

Sue could have been pulling my leg, as she’s been known to do. After all, this is the woman who, on my birthday, went into my work while I wasn’t there and replaced my desk chair with a wheelchair and oxygen tank.

But she wasn’t kidding about the eagles.

I called the Kitsap Sun with her report, and photographer Larry Steagall went out to Big Beef. By the time he arrived, only about 25 eagles were still there. (Did I say only 25?) Anyway, I understand that Larry plans to go back on another low tide to see if he can get more eagles into a single shot. For now, I’m sharing a couple of his photos.

Oh, by the way, there were only 58 eagles, not 60. Sue said she watched as all the eagles flew away except for two. They were rocks.

More eagles at Seabeck Marina on Hood Canal. Nearly 60 of the big birds were counted at Big Beef Creek before they took off. Some of them flew over to Seabeck.
Kitsap Sun photo by Larry Steagall

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