The Beaufort Eagles and FOSH origins, a Christmas Update

The Beaufort Eagle performs a fly-by of Surfside Point on Christmas Day, 2014. copyright Philip BaardmanThe Beaufort Eagle performs a fly-by of Surfside Point on Christmas Day,2014.

copyright Philip Baardman.

On a beautiful warm Christmas Day, I met several long-time residents, their children and their grandchildren on Surfside beach as they took in the outdoor scenery before the big feast. Hard to believe that we are all now long-time residents of some two to three decades, and that we carry the legends surrounding Beaufort Grove, Roberts Bay, going well back into the last century. We have all lived, or been born and grown up beneath the Beaufort Eagles eyrie, situated in the O.J. William’s Fir at the base of Summerset Place.

I was pleased also to find Philip Baardman On Surfside Point with his deluxe camera and 400m lens. As we stood there, discussing the cooking time for a forty pound turkey, one of the Beaufort Eagles flew by, moving powerfully toward the downtown waterfront. Too far and too fast, I thought, for a decent photo, but Philip shot off a rapid sequence anyway. Remarkably, Philip managed to capture the moment.

I was reminded of the time that the neighbours, including the Spooners and Mrs. O.J. Williams ( owner and steward of Beaufort Grove) were involved in the rescue of one of the original pair in 1991. It made front page spread headlines in the Peninsula News Review on August 21st : ” Majestic bird saved from certain death” :

The story began ” Roberts Point neighbourhood rejoiced Sunday night after a daring tree-top rescue saved a bald eagle from almost certain death. The eagle became snared in fish line at the summit of a 30-metre Douglas Fir in Beaufort Grove.” It was an exciting adventure involving a daring climb by Dan Hartshorne and the cutting loose of the entangled bird. It fell and just before it hit the ground it managed to spread its wings and fly off. In conclusion, the reporter wrote, “Resident Julie Spooner said ‘We felt good because we overcame obstacles. There was an air of excitement and we accomplished something.’

On November 20th the headlines read “Residents relieved rescued eagle back“, and reported that “Resident Julie Spooner says the episode has made the neighbourhood appreciate their rare and unique environment, with its close proximity to nature and wildlife. ‘Since we almost lost our eagle, there’s been a heightened awareness that we’re all sharing the same habitat.’

The Beaufort Eagles have returned every year since then and are one of the most photographed and visited attractions in Sidney. In fact, they are highly visible from newly-elect Mayor Steve Price’s front window. The fly-by over – past the Spooners grandson, year-old young Ethan, past Nathaniel, now a biology student at UVic, and Rebecca, nearing graduation in Parklands – was a heartening reminder that we are all stewards, with responsibility to carry on the legends and the legacy of this unique area.

We have much to celebrate with the end of the Salish season of Siset, the elders moon, going into this new year, and the last moon of Ninene, meaning our “offspring” or “young ones”.

Kerry Finley



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