Just as we arrived, at about 9:00 AM, both eagles were on the nest. They began calling, and then copulated. My photos are not very good, but I wanted to document this. Mike L. was also there and he said he saw them mating on "the concrete" last week. (I meant to have him clarify whether he meant at ground level or on a concrete pole.) He may have some photos, which I encouraged him to upload to the FORUM.
The (presumed) female stayed on the nest, rearranging sticks.
The (presumed) male then flew to the roost tree along the road just west of the nest. Could this be Brown-tip??? I note that the leftmost tail feather has a brown tip. It may not be as pronounced as was the case last year. The other (right) two outer tail feathers also appear to have a small amount of pigment on the feather shafts, while the pigment on the left tip seems to involve some of the feather barbs.
Lets try to see if this is a useful mark, and if so, determine the sex of this bird if we can get good photos side-by-side.
Mating activity picks up in the 1-2 weeks prior to laying of the first egg, so they may be earlier this year. Keep an eye out for a change in behavior by the female, who will begin to sit low and continuously after the first egg is deposited. In 2008 and 2009 the first egg was laid on December 13 and 18 respectively.
Correction-- Last year Brown-tip was on RIGHT outer tail feather
Here is last year's male bird. I said the brown tip was on his left outer tail feather, but it was the right one. This year there is a bit of brown on tips of both outer tail feathers, but it is more pronounced on the LEFT side.