We then found the path that led to the "wilderness area" and leashed Nugget back up per the sign's instructions, despite the high volume of dogs entering and leaving the reserve sans restraint. We walked along a very well beaten path within the "wilderness area", which was essentially just a narrow corridor (about 150 feet across) between the river and a chain link fence atop a steep concrete-inforced dirt wall. On the side of the river, you could see peope in their boats having a good ol' time, and on the side of the chain link fense, you could see the backyards of residential houses. Although the corridor had trees and plants, so does much of Oregon, and the combination of a well-plodded path, off-leash dogs, and civilization visible on both sides made the "wilderness area" seem like it just wasn't trying.
"How does this count as a wildlife refuge?" Gary asked. Before I could agree with the sentiment, we heard a loud shrieky bird call. We looked up and in the the tree in front of us, we saw a bald eagle. "Ohh...okay. I guess that makes it legit," Gary said.
We also saw another large bird flying around above us. He was big, but definitely less daunting that the eagle. Gary decided it was an osprey. He was circling the area, and would occasionaly do a shallow dive near the spot where Mr. Eagle was sitting. The eagle would respond with an annoyed shriek. After a few minutes, the osprey left. The eagle sat quietly for a bit, then flapped around, broke off the branch he was sitting on, and flew out of the tree. Carrying the branch in his talons, he started out across the river. Suddenly, the osprey reappeared and began chasing after the eagle. The osprey was flying higher than the eagle, and when the osprey got close enough, he tucked his wings in and dove. The eagle was thrown off balance a little as he dodged the attack, and then continued on his way as the osprey got back into position for another attempt. The osprey gave it one last go before we lost sight of them.
(I'm thinking at this point of the re-telling that I should have made them different genders, so it would have been easier to avoid dangling modifiers. Oh well, you live and learn. But I do apologize for the excessive usage of the word "osprey".)
Gary told me that eagles can be something of a bully, so the osprey may have been trying to fend off his territory from a jerkface potential neighbor (I don't think those were Gary's exact words, but...). Here is Benjamin Franklin's take on the matter (he argued for the wild turkey to be our national bird): "[The bald eagle] does not get his living honestly. You may have seen him perched on some dead tree near the river, where, too lazy to fish for himself, he watches the labour of the Fishing Hawk [a.k.a. the osprey]; and when that diligent bird has at length taken a fish, and is bearing it to his nest for the support of his mate and young ones, the Bald Eagle pursues him and takes it from him.”
Because I didn't bring my camera, I give you instead a picture of Mr. Eagle's cousins, who live at the Portland Zoo.