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…
Woodland Park Zoo has a pair of Stellar Sea Eagles in an enclosure. The Sea Eagle is a big bird. This pair were pretty active as well. They were making a lot of noise and flapping around the enclosure not stopping at any one spot for long. It made for a fun time trying to get some shots of them. Shooting through the enclosure is a bit tricky but, being close enough to it allowed everything to blur out and the shots worked out pretty well. They are an intense looking creature.
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.
Within the very high speed flows of air in an aircraft’s exhaust, you can set up a series of shock waves and expansion fans as a result of the differences between the pressure of the flow and that of the surrounding air. When afterburner is engaged, the hot gases and the temperature changes these shocks and expansions cause, result in a diamond pattern forming in the exhaust plume. In darker conditions, these diamonds are more conspicuous but they are visible even in normal daylight.
These diamond patterns are a function of the flow being symmetrical since most engines have round exhaust nozzles. This isn’t the case for the F-22, though. It has flattened nozzles with a pointed profile top and bottom. This got me wondering what the effect is on the exhaust plume and whether the traditional diamonds are formed or whether the nozzle shape results in a different pattern of shock and expansions as they reflect within the plume. I decided to dig in to some shots to see what I could find.
I don’t have a lot of F-22 afterburner shots. While I have shot them a lot taking off, they often take off without afterburner. Since they have plenty of power and burner use dramatically increases fuel consumption (and the F-22 is not over-endowed with range as it is), there is no point using burner if it isn’t needed. Air shows are a time when they do give it plenty of burner, so that is the source of the shots.
The result of this is that there is definitely something unusual about the shock patterns. I include some shots of F-16 and F/A-18 afterburner plumes and the normal shock patterns that create the hotspots known as the diamonds are very obvious and simple in shape. For the F-22, things are very different with the patterns of hot zones being something more in line with the shape of the nozzle. The way in which the patterns repeat is more complex than for an axisymmetric nozzle. There is nothing much to conclude in these observations. It is just something that appeals to an old aero guy like me.
The Growlers weren’t the only things flying at Coupeville while I was there. A bunch of bald eagles were also flying in the vicinity. They were crossing the approach path for the FCLP training which had me a little concerned. I thought they would get lost when the jets showed up but they clearly weren’t very concerned and were used the the jets. They might have got close but they seemed to stay just far enough away to avoid any conflict. A bird strike with a bald eagle would probably be messy for all concerned.
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.
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.
Sitting out by Lake Washington watching the boat and floatplane traffic also provided a view of the local residents fishing. These residents aren’t the humans on the pier with fishing poles. These are the ospreys. There are lots of ospreys that are around the north end of the lake at this time of year. They are circling overhead looking for targets and then swooping down to catch them.
It is not usual to get them making their catch close in but sometimes you can see them diving in the grab a fish. However, when they catch something, they do head back passed the shore as they make their way to their nests. A fish tucked under their body and held in a forward alignment to make it easier to fly with is not a rare sight. You also can get them circling overhead as they look for some food but I guess nothing too tasty was near me.