Thursday, July 1, 2010

Ninichik Alaska

Just outside of Homer, as we were heading out of town, there was a scenic overlook where we stopped to look back at the town, the spit and harbor. What a great sight. In the background are the Kenai Mountain Range.
Also on our way home we wanted to check out an historic village where Russian Orthodox missionaries settled in the 19th century and lived  among the Dena'ina Indians. We were not sure of what we were looking for and there were no signposts for the village, but I spotted a Russian Orthodox church high upon a hill. We drove into the town of Ninichik where we walked around this church and cemetery.
The cemetery was interesting to walk through. It was overgrown with weeds and wildflowers but most of the plots had some sort of flower wreath on it. It was interesting to consider all the history represented here. The next picture posted comes with a story.
While driving through Ninichik we stopped at the water's edge to observe four young eagles and an older one who seemed to be the parent. They were swooping over the river and the older one eventually left to sit in a tree up the hillside. What happened next had quite a bit of drama and enthralled for quite some time. One of the young eagles, pictured above, grabbed a sea gull out of the water and sat on it for awhile.  I can imagine he was thinking was that it did not seem to be the food his parent had taught him to pull out of the water! He finally got up off the bird and tried to pick it up. He dropped it and the gull went back to the water, it did appear to have some difficulty swimming. The eagle picked it up a few more times out of the water and dropped it each time. Other sea gulls attacked the eagle each time he tried to wrestle with the bird. He gave up and sat on a nearby pole. His brother attacked the gull and also tried to lift it out of the water. The sea gull soon seemed to be quite injured and started sinking in the water. The eagles flew away. What intrigued us about the whole tableau was that we have always seen gulls harass eagles, possibly to get them to drop the fish they have in their mouth. The eagles always look so passive and never seem to fight back. I think what we saw here was a situation where some young birds thought they could bring home a bigger/better meal than their parents had ever given them! And just maybe eagles do eat gulls, that I do not know.

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