Return to the Kingdom of the Great Ice Eagles

March GosRuss-11.jpg

Whenever I see any wild eagle my heart becomes like that of a small child playing barefoot in a garden, holding out a plastic dinosaur with one eye squinted-imagining it is real.

Not that I ever did that.

In February 2006, I realised dreams from my childhood in undertaking a cruise by the kind people of 



Their English Website



Pension Rausukuru

(Your cruise is discounted if you stay at the Inn). We returned to join them again, 12 years to the day, to again behold one of the greatest sights within this solar system. Where else can any of the world’s space agencies travel to find such wonders? This time we also stayed at their beautiful Canadian log-house, Pension Rausukuru, and feasted on delicious fresh food and went on two cruises into a kingdom unseen in any other known world.

We're also grateful to Stuart Price of

Hakodate Birding

for advice when we were making our plans. Stuart really helped me with the owl. Thanks, Stu. Check out Stuart's magnificent blog and brilliant pictures!

The Greatest Eagle in the World

I still remember black & white TV. I especially remember it on rainy Sundays. It always seemed so cruel for the day before a new week of school to be rained out. I remember getting up, turning on the tele, and swivelling the channels; “O”, “2”, “7”, “9”. I’d be scorned by a wooden-faced man, then fidget watching a cowboy movie. I’d give up by the time they’d hurry off to lynch someone. If I was really lucky there would be an Elvis movie on after lunch. In the meantime I’d draw a picture, or make some kind of craft. I’d try to reinforce the idea of my freedom being a non-school day by having a bowl of ice-cream and decorate it with a couple or four spoons of Milo. I did like finding a documentary to watch. Especially on something like eagles. Once I saw a documentary about Golden Eagles in Scotland.

The only other eagles I knew were the Bald Eagle in America, and my Wedge-tailed Eagle in Australia. I got it into my head to find out which one was the biggest. I pulled every book out off the shelves in my search. Eventually I decided to look into a really old set of encyclopaedia. It was so old that even the gold trim was brown. I looked up the word, “eagle” and was so excited to find that it had a chapter especially about the greatest eagles on earth. Bonus! The pages were dull with only a few colour plates here and there. Finally I found the page I was looking for and was kind of let down by small sepia and black and white photos. No big wedge-tail’s wings spanning over two pages. I began to read and became even more perplexed. It went on about a monkey-eating eagle in the Philippines, and a great harpy in the jungles in South America. It went on further to claim that the most massive eagle on earth was actually off the icy coasts of eastern Russia, Korea and Japan. I’d never heard of such a thing. I peered into a small sepia picture of a big fat bird sitting on what looked like a rock. It looked pompous; almost imperial. It’s white shoulders reminded me of the clothes worn in those old portraits of Napoleon and Henry the Eighth. It’s head and beak were were huge in proportion to it’s body. It didn’t look like what I thought an eagle should look like and I had no mental image of icy coasts anywhere. What a crappy Sunday.

For years, I would think about eagles again. I would search for pictures in bookstores and libraries. Such images of wild eagles were very rare. I often went back to look at the small old pictures in that book. I had many questions. Who had taken the pictures? How did they find the eagle? How did they get there? Through the 70s, 80s, and 90s, finding such pictures was a great challenge. Now we can find anything with the internet. Type in a name and there a thousands of pictures. I only hope that we don’t become complacent, and disregard such subjects as something unimportant because of the ease with which we find them. I hope there are still little girls and boys who are inspired, and dream of standing in the presence of a wild eagle.


Pension Rausukuru