A Steller Sighting!

This morning I looked out my window and saw that the snow had melted, a sign of spring even though it’s only mid-February. Outside, it was chilly but sunny. At morning gather, I said hello to my friends as the sun started to come up. At breakfast, my friends and I talked about our field lab from the week, what the next weekend activity would be, and more. The day started normally, with a documentary in Spanish class, a fun but productive math class, and our second species quiz in science. During art, we worked on our first project, putting the finishing touches on. 

After class was lunch. I arrived in the dining hall to find Jaden talking to Megan the science teacher about the Steller’s sea eagle, a rare bird which had been sighted around Maine a few times within the last couple of weeks. On Tuesday and Thursday, Semester 68 had gone looking for it. Though we did not see the bird on either day, we didn’t give up hope, which paid off. The bird had been spotted on the same bridge we had gone to earlier in the week. Hushed excitement bubbled around the Wallace, everyone nervous but hoping to see the sea eagle, since we had tried and failed to see it the first time. Luckily, I had a free period after lunch. I had never been very interested in birds before coming here, but I found myself smiling at the thought of seeing the eagle in person. It took some convincing, but eventually we got the okay to go see it. I practically sprinted back to my cabin to drop off my school work for the day and grab some more layers. We excitedly piled into the Chewonki van; me, Katie, and Ella sitting in the back, Levi in the row in front of us, and Felix in the front with Paloma. We drove with anticipation, hoping the bird would still be there. We drove behind the other van, filled with more students. We all hopped out, grabbed our binoculars, and quickly put on a few more layers. We joined the rest of our group and practically fought for our spots on the rails of the Arrowsic bridge. 

Finally, after searching for about 5 minutes, we spotted it. Since Jaden had been the first to see it, he went around helping those of us who couldn’t. Through my binoculars, very faintly, I saw the Steller’s sea eagle, resting on the branch of a pine tree right above the water. Its giant orange beak made it easy to spot in the trees. I saw its big body and the white spots on its wings. I felt a wave of excitement and thrill rush over the whole group. We had known about this bird for about a week and had gone searching for it twice, and now it was resting in a tree only 15 minutes from campus. Everyone was so shocked and proud to have seen a bird that was the only one in the whole country. I turned to Anna and Katie and we practically started jumping. We had to go back to campus for work program, so we piled back into the big Chewonki vans and went home with huge smiles on our faces. 

What started as a normal Friday turned out to be an incredible opportunity. Though we weren’t at the bridge anymore, my cabin mates and I kept talking about it for the rest of the night, saying how we couldn’t believe we saw “the Steller’s sea eagle”. The night ended with a themed dinner, a documentary, and spending time with my friends. We added the bird to our semester-wide bird sightings list with smiles on our faces. I can’t wait for more incredible sightings!

 

Josie Kim, Crossroads School, Los Angeles, CA 

 

 

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