Sunday, February 8, 2009

The Old Man & the Bay

He was an old man who took photos at the bay with Morrison, and he had gone 84 days now without taking a fish.
-Ernest Colvinway, The Old Man & The Bay

Day two of the Ironman Eagathalon dawned cold and overcast. When I arrived, only one other photographer was on station and with the naked eye I could see 107 bald eagles. The biggest challenge of the morning was lighting, and from minute to minute I needed to adjust my settings as I poked the big prime through the gloom.

Eagles are large and can be seen from a great distance. That is why it's perplexing how they can often sneak up on you and appear out of nowhere. This old veteran bombed in on me at such close range I couldn't capture a full wingspan in the lens.

Morning seems to be the time that eagles enjoy quibbling over carp. Today was no exception and I managed a few snaps of the antics.

Some observers mistake the numerous immature bald eagles for goldens. Young baldies have a brown, mottled appearance which progresses over the first 2 years to full plumage.

This bird was expressing some displeasure at being pestered by an "immature" that was trying to horn in on the carp action. Shortly after this I was also forced to express displeasure at several clothed primates that ventured out onto the ice of the off-limits rest area, which began spooking the eagles farther out onto the flow.

As the day progressed good lighting remained scarce but we did get a few good opportunites like this carp-clutching fly by.

After hours of waiting there was a short flurry of activity when a thermal formed nearby and eagles started rushing into the air to take advantage of it, soaring thousands of feet into the air in minutes.

Homo Sapiens began building up into voluminous masses of humanity in the early afternoon. The harriers have been very skittish lately due to the hustle and bustle, but I did manage a photo of a male, which is an extremely rare happening for me. I see them frequently, but they perpetually avoid the business end of my camera.

I thought this shot of a female was fun, as she sat perched on top of the No OHV sign:

We called it a day early when the rain moved in and the cloud cover made motion photography an impossibility. Thanks again to Jay for good company and lots of insights. Be sure to check out his captures at JayMorr Photography.

Thanks for stopping in!

1 comment:

  1. Amazing stuff! What beautiful majestic birds .. and captured perfectly! Love the shot with the fish.