Eagles on the beach

For a few days this week we’re enjoying late July type weather so today I headed for the beach to walk along the tideline on the ebb tide. I have plenty of images of seagulls on the beach so I almost didn’t take my camera with me. Remembering that I always regret such a decision, as I walked to the door I picked up my camera. So glad I did!

When I arrived the tide was 90 minutes from one of the lowest tides of the season and as I walked along the water’s edge I saw I was approaching a heron having a very successful fishing session in a tidal pool, and also a bald eagle, standing on the beach near the heron and being harassed by a very persistent beach crow. Altho I do have a zoom lens, my budget doesn’t allow for a serious wildlife telephoto lens so to get decent wildlife images I have to rely on stealth, patience and casual body language so I can get close enough to capture an image that I can at least crop into something useful. Today luck was with me. Usually the eagles and herons on the beach are very skittish but these two were quite determined to hold their ground, at least until the dogs started to arrive, and I soon found myself standing between the eagle and the heron, torn by the desire to catch the heron in the act of catching a fish, and the eagle so close, but just standing there. If I focused on one the other one was behind me, and I really wanted to come home with some images of eagles in flight…they’re usually too far away for a decent shot with my gear.

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Once the dogs started arriving both birds flew away, but the eagle just moved down the beach a bit, so I followed along after him. Pretty soon, another eagle started to circle overhead and my eagle started watching it. I was observing the grounded eagle through my lens when the circling eagle must have swooped down suddenly. The next thing I knew, my eagle took off and engaged in an airborne squabble with the second eagle.

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They ended up flying down the beach and out of sight. I watched to see if they would come back, but no luck. I found a big clam and a couple of shrimp that were stranded in a rapidly heating tidal pool and rescued them, and when I looked up, my eagle was back! He just walked around picking fish out of the seaweed on the edges of tidal pools, so I left him and headed along the beach again. There is a pair of bald eagles that builds a nest beside the beach every year, and by the time I reached the area where they usually hang out, there they were on the beach. These guys were much more skittish than the first eagle and I couldn’t get as close without them becoming anxious. They soon left and flew to their tree above the beach, but as I was photographing gulls squabbling over fish caught in the tidal pools, one of them swooped in and stole one of the fish from a very annoyed seagull! I wasn’t expecting the eagle the first time, but soon he came back again for a repeat performance. This time I was ready and got some nice images of the eagle as he flew past me.

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So, I finally have my eagles on the wing images that I’ve been wanting for a long time!

 

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One thought on “Eagles on the beach

  1. Nice that you can get even that close to bald eagles. We can see them cruisong over the river or killing and eating weak geese, but I don’t have a long enough lens to get good shots. well done.

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