The eagles that live around Juanita Bay are busy hunters. However, hunting requires a load of effort and it is surely easier to steal someone else’s meal. An otter had caught a fish and climbed on to one of the buoys that mark the protected area of the bay to eat it. As it got close to finishing, one of the eagles swooped in and grabbed the remainder of what it had. The otter didn’t seem too bothered so maybe it had eaten the best of the meal and was okay to let the eagle take it without a fight. The eagle went to the osprey perch and then ate whatever was left.
There is a resident pair of bald eagles in Juanita Bay. Originally, I had got some shots of the two of them which were going to be the basis for this post. Since then, I have seen them a bunch of times. They have been flying around together, swooping across the bay and hanging out on the osprey perch to either eat their food or watch for the next meal. I figured I could just share a bunch of photos of them either together or individually. Enjoy…
I never fail to be amazed at the crap that large birds of prey take from smaller birds. The eagles fly around here with crows and other birds swooping in at them and trying to drive them away. The strangest part is that the eagles barely do anything about it. I have seen how agile an eagle can be in flight and a rapid turn to point some talons at an incoming crow is well within their capability but they just don’t bother. I was down south of Seattle recently and heard the familiar call of a bald eagle (not as cool as you might think). It was sitting on a tree top. Crows were coming in to hassle it regularly and it barely flinched. I shot a small video clip to show the crows working as a pair and that is included below.
We had a day out on Whidbey Island and we stopped off at Fort Casey to eat our lunch. We parked up near the lighthouse and there was a bald eagle hanging around along the cliff tops. The updrafts made soaring around a piece of cake for it. It landed in the top of a tree near us as we walked along the cliff. When we turned around and headed down the slope towards the fort, it started flying high above us and then appeared to swoop down into the bushes – presumably to catch a snack. We lost track of it at that point but a short while later it emerged from the bushes flying just above head height and straight towards us. I had the camera on the wrong settings to maximize my chance of getting a good shot but I still managed to get a few slightly blurry ones as it buzzed by.
There were a few bald eagles hanging out on Camano Island during our trip there. There was one in a tree near the shore when we first got there. It didn’t seem in the least bit interested in us as we walked below it. If an eagle has recently eaten, it is quite likely to hang around for a long time doing nothing so we didn’t wait around to see what it did.
When we came back there were now two eagles in the area. I’ve no idea whether one was our original or if these two had come along since. A third flew past at one point getting the two quite agitated. If you have never heard the noise a bald eagle makes, you might be quite surprised. They have a high pitched squeak which doesn’t seem in keeping with their size. It is easy to identify though.
I wandered around trying to get the two of them in shot together. They were quite offset distance wise which meant getting them both in focus wasn’t practical. I did try and little Photoshop focus stacking when I got home though. It’s funny that bald eagles are so common in this part of the world but it is still exciting to see one and everyone seems to respond the same way.
After work one evening, I headed to Log Boom Park in Kenmore. I was thinking I might shoot a few floatplanes as they returned at the end of the day but I hadn’t timed it right for that and didn’t see any. However, the local wildlife was busy including a few bald eagles that were out hunting on the lake. Some immature eagles were out and about but a couple of adults were also trying their luck. I saw one of them start to dive down on a target and followed with the camera.
The eagle struck its target and grabbed it out of the water successfully. However, it hadn’t fully appreciated just how large a fish this was. It was a beast and the eagle started to try and climb away without success. This fish was too heavy for it. That wasn’t going to deter it though. It had caught dinner and wasn’t intent on letting it go. Flapping furiously, it tried to gain speed and altitude. Speed was fine but altitude was a different story. Instead, it adopted a new tactic. Dangling the fish beneath it, the tail of the fish was slapping on the surface of the water. This seemed to provide a little support and the combination proceeded to skim across the surface of the lake. Only when at the shore was a final surge of effort put in to pull up on to an awning where the eagle landed and laid out its catch.
Jackson Hole included some large birds in the selection of wildlife on offer for our visit. We got to see some eagles at a distance. Bald eagles were not a surprise but I was unaware that Golden Eagles live in the area too. They are one big bird! It would have been nice to get a bit closer but eagles do what they want and you have to be happy getting what you can.
The ospreys on Lake Washington have got some attention on the blog recently. However, they are not alone. Some bald eagles have also been showing up. They aren’t around in such large numbers and I didn’t see so much fishing activity close by but they were out there having a hunt for some food and sometimes came closer in allowing a shot or three. They are an impressive looking bird.
The presence of the eagles on Juanita Bay was something I have seen before but I had not been out with the camera before to catch them. I saw one eagle hunting out on the water as I moved towards the bay and this startled the wildfowl as I mentioned in a previous post. The eagle involved then flew back to one of the trees on the shore and perched there for quite a while. I got to one of the boardwalks in the park where I could sit it waiting, a little far away and almost directly in the sun. Time to wait.
I hung around for quite a while hoping this eagle would make a move. It seemed to have more patience than me. Meanwhile, I was looking around to see whether anything else was on the move – the swans perhaps. Then my eye caught some movement coming across the bay towards me out of the background of the hills opposite. I suddenly realized that it was another eagle. It was already climbing as I realized and I tried hard to get the camera up towards it despite having the monopod attached. I got a focus on it just as it reached the tree branch it was aiming for. A great flare of wings and then it was perched, almost directly above me.
I got a bunch more shots of it as it found a comfortable position on the perch and there is remained. I was getting pretty cold and the light was fading so I decided to head back around the park. The last I saw it was still up there.
I was walking along the edge of the lake in Juanita carrying the camera. Juanita Bay is popular with bird life and I saw a lot of the wildfowl suddenly burst into life and start flying towards me. I pulled the camera up and started shooting. I wasn’t sure what was going on but figured I could try and work that out later. Meanwhile there were a lot of birds coming at me.
It was soon clear what was occurring. There is a pair of bald eagles that frequent the bay and one of them was soaring across the bay. It pulled up and landed on a pole out in the water and very close to the birds. This obviously spooked them and they all bolted for the shore and, perhaps, safety. The eagle didn’t seem to bothered about them to be honest but they are not averse to a change in diet once in a while so I understand why there was such a reaction.