Looking out at the Pawtuckaways

The three peaks of the Pawtuckaway mountains to the west of us are viewed here from the Garrison Hill tower. Well, the middle one is obscured by the tree. Still, they’re prominent points in southeastern New Hampshire, midway between the Seacoast region and the Merrimack River, with good views of Boston from the forest fire lookout tower atop the 908-foot South Mountain (left).

I’ve never seen so many eagles in my life

Their wingspans can reach six feet, extended straight out when soaring.

American bald eagles are majestic birds, among the largest in the air. From the first one I saw, back in the early months of 1977, I’ve found the sight of them to be exciting and inspiring. I was, in fact, one of a handful of folks who saw that first eagle to return to the Yakima Valley of Washington state, an event that prompts one scene in my novel, “Nearly Canaan.”

Since then, I’ve seen hundreds, from the North Cascades and Olympic Peninsula to the upper Mississippi River and the Great Falls of the Potomac, and then New Hampshire and Maine, especially. I loved looking up while working in the yard or swimming backstrokes in the city’s Jenny Thompson pool and seeing an eagle or two overhead.

Since landing the Eastport house in December and all the drives back to Dover, though, I seem to be seeing them everywhere. One Friday, on my way to Dover, I counted a dozen along the way, followed the next day by another just a block away from the Red Barn. It helps, of course, to know what you’re looking for.

Now, I’ve finally been able to photograph one. I’m hoping for more.

The white head and white tail on a black body make for a sure identification.

This one was over Deep Cove in Eastport.

 

Beating the crowds at the seashore

Tourist season in northern New England doesn’t start until the July 4 holiday, and even then, the ocean is too cold for most swimmers. Of course, living in the region, much of June and September is prime beach time, if you want to be free of the mobs.

Just look at this, though I won’t tell you exactly where it is, only that it’s a state park and the high rises that seem to be sitting on the jetty are actually along Old Orchard Beach, Maine’s longest stretch of seaside sand and leading honky-tonk sunspot, all the way across Saco Bay.