Canvasbacks In Flight

Two posts prior, I expressed how lucky our community was to have Canvasbacks so close to our shorelines due to Marshy Creek’s recent freeze-over.  The Canvasbacks have continued to visit daily, but not near as close since the ice is breaking apart as it weakens and melts and Marshy Creek is beginning to open back up.

I was off this past Thursday due to the winter snow/ice storm that most of the East Coast suffered through and took on the challenge of trying to capture Canvasbacks in flight as more and more kept dropping in to the raft where Marshy Creek was opening up.  I found it not so easy, lol, the two photos I’m sharing aren’t that good.  I’ll blame it on the overcast!  But they were comical and fun to watch.

Canvasback males and females dropping into the raft

Canvasback males and females dropping into the sleeping raft

_DSC0127-2 2-13-14I kept trying but wasn’t successful.  That afternoon the sky had lightened more.  While watching them for a bit, a part of the raft was separating and began to come towards me, turning & headed to the right to pass our Osprey nest platform pole.

Canvasbacks at the base of our Osprey nest platform

Canvasbacks at the base of our Osprey nest platform

Just before the Eagle arrives

Just before the chaos….

Minutes later, the raft passing by quickly took flight.  As I was trying to lock on them, I had a flock of Mallards fly within 15 feet in front of me, scattering as fast as they could as they suddenly saw me.  (They scared me too, lol.)  With all this chaos, I quickly thought “Eagle” as I stayed on the Canvasbacks.

Canvasbacks in a frantic flight

Canvasbacks in a frantic flight

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Looking back to my left, a smaller raft of Canvasbacks were still in the water, moving swiftly in the same direction.  It’s not safe in the back of the raft and you can see the last were already starting to fly when I started photographing them.

Another raft of Canvasbacks moving nervously, the back already taking flight

Another raft of Canvasbacks moving nervously, the back already taking flight (there are four Ruddy Ducks in the foreground)

That triggers them all to take flight

That triggers them all to take flight

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Airborn!

I really like the next shots as the Canvasbacks turned and flew over the ice.

Over the ice

Over the ice

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Not sure what happened on this shot but I thought it was cool-looking in an abstract or 'trippy' way

Not sure what happened on this shot but I thought it was cool-looking in an abstract or ‘trippy’ way  🙂

So what did cause all the commotion, frightening away the waterfowl?  I spotted the Eagle flying in.

The Eagle landed on the ice very close to where the Canvasbacks were and I was lucky to see the mate join him/her.

American Bald Eagle

American Bald Eagle

Mr. and Mrs.

Mr. and Mrs. Eagle

The pair of Eagles just stood and screamed numerous times, letting all know they were there.  (I think that was already figured out.)  The pair then took flight over to Lippincott’s channel marker where they continued to let everyone know they were around.

American Bald Eagles on Lippincott's Channel Marker

American Bald Eagles on Lippincott’s Channel Marker

The pair departed thereafter in opposite directions and just as quickly I saw them both back together in the sky, one with a fresh meal dangling in its clutches.  They landed on the osprey nest platform across Marshy Creek at CBEC and enjoyed their feast.  It was hours later but the Canvasbacks did return for the evening.

All goes to show the Eagle does reign the Chesapeake Bay area’s waters!

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