My Soaring With The Eagles

My past week was filled with some wonderful photo ops of a variety of birds, but time at the computer has eluded me and I am still going thru the last of my downloads.  Still I wanted to get some up to share before I bust from the excitement!  🙂

Eagles…..

I haven’t seen an eagle in the last three days, but last Wednesday through Saturday I got to watch and photograph eagles soaring off to the left of my balcony over Marshy Creek and CBEC both mornings and evenings.  With the sun rising or setting, what a way to start and end my days!  At one time, there were five in the sky (three adult, two immature), which confused me.  I’ve seen four at the most, being two adult eagles with their two juveniles, so I’m not sure where the fifth one came from.  No one was aggressive with another, so I really couldn’t tell who was the ‘extra’.  The most I could get in one shot were three….

Bald Eagles over Chesapeake Bay Environmental Center

Bald Eagles over Chesapeake Bay Environmental Center

A little later only two of the eagles remained and they became playful, circling and bumping each other, doing some beautiful bonding together.  I’ll be the first to say the quality of the next images I captured aren’t the greatest; but if you’ve not seen eagles “cartwheeling”,  it gives you a sense of the downfall spinning they do after locking talons together, then disconnecting just before hitting the ground or treetops.  A scarey but pretty cool feat!

Bald Eagles "cartwheeling" over Chesapeake Bay Environmental Center

Bald Eagles 'cartwheeling"

Bald Eagles "cartwheeling"

Bald Eagles "cartwheeling"

Bald Eagles "cartwheeling"

Friday and Saturday I got other distant shots, but Thursday was my jackpot day of eagle ops!  It started Thursday morning before leaving for work, I had kept an eye on a female mallard who was below me, lounging in the grass alongside a flowerbed.  The sunrise’s golden rays were highlighting her coloring so I decided to take a couple photos.  As I stepped out on to my balcony, she flew up and off to my right in a fluster, quacking hysterically!  I turned to my left and saw an eagle coming right at me.  Camera in hand, I quickly aimed up, and here’s the shots I got (last one is not good but you can see him glancing down at me)….

Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle "giving me the eye"

Whoosh, he went right over me, I felt his breeze through my hair!  Well, maybe a little exaggeration on the breeze/hair part LOL but if I didn’t have a roof over my head, I would have felt it!  😉

I wanted so bad to quickly download to see them but wanted to also cruise my ‘OC loop’ (update photos soon), so I opted to leave, loop, and then on to work.  Heading home, I had eagles on my brain again, I needed to see those shots!  As always after walking in, I first head for my ‘5-10 minute moment’ on the balcony to unwind from the day, and see what activity might be going on.  Stepping out, an eagle was soaring between CBEC and me, off to my right.  No way!  (I’m pretty sure I said that out loud!)  As he soared back and forth, I continued to shoot him.  Here’s several that have him coming towards me at different times, it was difficult to pick just these to share.

Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle

After another circling, he comes at me again…..

Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle

And then again, this time closer yet!

Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle

And then just as quickly, he took off and was gone.  What perfect timing!

About an hour later just before sunset, an immature eagle flew by in the distance heading west.  I really liked the next two images because of the sky and cloud colors.

Immature Bald Eagle

Immature Bald Eagle

I felt like I had soared with the eagles that day.  Maybe you can get that sense with the little series’ shots I shared!

I hope you enjoyed and thank you always for stopping by.  🙂

41 thoughts on “My Soaring With The Eagles

  1. Oh, how exciting! If I ever see eagles cartwheeling, I am sure I will be too busy watching to even think about my camera! Maybe your eagle friend who spooked the duck is the same one who did the late fly-over. Thanks for sharing!

    • It is pretty cool to see them doing it, if I hadn’t been set up with my camera on my tripod, I would have probably missed them! Just wish they’d get a bit closer so I could share better images!

  2. Terrific shots of those magnificent birds! You sure took good advantage of the opportunities! I see them every day, but hardly ever close enough for a good photo.

    • They are impressive to watch even at a distance with the naked eye. I can spend hours with my binoculars watching them; of course, I’m talking to them too, “come on, come over this way, please?” They don’t usually comply, I wonder why, LOL. But I won’t complain, sometimes they do and I’m hopefully there ready to snap. 🙂

    • Thanks Jerry! I do use autofocus. It is the luck of locking on or relocking with their quick movement. I also have a Wimberly head on my tripod which I love but to be honest I do more hand-held for birds in flight so I can move quicker and do the overhead shots. Also a secret maybe on my quickness, the things in flight that I began first photographing with my first Nikon D50 five years ago were amateur rockets at the MD rocketry club my son was involved with (still is). High-power rockets that broke mach speed. 😉

      • Thanks for the tips, I think that I need to work on my technique. I do fairly well on one bird, but when I go to shoot two together in flight, I track one, and wait for the other to enter the frame. That’s when the auto-focus goes back into action cycling through its entire range, and taking up too much time. I think I will try keeping both birds in the frame by zooming out, then zooming back in when they get close to each other and see if the auto-focus likes that better.

        I used to launch model rockets and photograph them too, I’ll bet your son loves it as I understand that they have much more potent engines these days than back when I was doing it.

      • You’re thinking on right track on focusing. There are many I don’t get!

        Re rockets, my son now has a masters in aerospace engineering and works in the private sector for the navy. On the side he’s into extreme rocketry now, he launched one in Kansas at annual rocketry event four years ago and with a 2-stage rocket, he hit mach 4. AND they found the rocket and the data intact. I did NOT get that launch, didn’t try to lol, but a member of his local club did. You can see the mach ‘diamonds’ in the photo.

  3. It is great to see the series, like an action animation, especially the cart-wheeling. i love seeing eagles though usually I am on the highway driving and i figure by the time I stop they will be gone.Still a thrill., thanks for sharing.

  4. Totally Awesome photography to be able to capture that!! I have never seen that many eagles together. We are lucky to see one occasionally here, but to see four and five at a time is truly a mircle, and to have them “perform” for you is truly amazing!!! Thank you again.
    Linda/SC

    • Your welcome Linda, and thank you! I felt I was lucky with the timing! I can just imagine what they’re doing when I’m not home to see it, can’t you? lol If someone would just pay me to sit on my balcony and document and photograph, I’d be in heaven on earth! 🙂

  5. WOW what a terrific series Donna! You were definitely at the right place at the right time! I used to see one every couple of days last summer….in fact I know what you mean about flying over at close proximity. He flew over our back yard at tree top level and I swear I felt the wind as you said. A magnificent sight for sure. Haven’t seen him yet this year though. Fingers are crossed!

    • Thanks so much David! I am so excited with the increased numbers of the eagles around our local area and the Chesapeake Bay, and they say the eagle’s comeback around the U.S. has been impressive as well. I bet you’ll be seeing more this summer. Keeping my fingers crossed for you too!

    • I almost do…..except my verbal outbursts immediately bring me back once he passes… 😉 I know neighbors have go to hear my whooping once I stop shooting……WOO HOO! 😉

  6. Great shots … I really like the cartwheeling behavioral shots. Do you think they are playing “chicken” and the loser is the one to break apart first! LOL Tom

  7. Donna, I linked over here from your comment at the Bird • Light • Wind blog, and I’m so glad I did. What a spectacular series! Just lovely. I share your love of Osprey, too, although my immersion began in earnest only after moving to Seattle a few years ago. We have several Osprey nests within a few miles of home and it’s impossible not to be come invested in their lives.

    • Thanks Ingrid for stopping by and for your nice comments. You are right, you cannot help but fall in love with them as you watch them live their lives and progress through the season. And if you name them, look out! Attachment become ten times more! LOL I’ll scoot over to your site to see your osprey Seattle-style!

  8. Wowee, beautiful pictures! You are really talented at catching them! The cartwheeling series is amazing! Seeing your pics, now I feel like I also got to soar with the eagles!

    • Thanks Twizzkid! I was very excited to publish this post to share the close-up shots, it was pure luck of being there at those moments with my camera in-hand. And what moments they were! I really think some of my neighbors heard me “WOOHOO!” after one of the times the eagle had passed and I had caught back my breath! LOL

    • Thanks Dianne, it is a thrill you won’t forget, I hope you catch sight of your eagles cartwheeling some day! It happens so fast, I’ve only gotten lucky a few times with my camera.

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