The Golden Eagles were at San Jacinto, Ca and the mature Bald Eagles were from the last 2 years at Seabec, Wa.
I photographed at Seabeck, Wa June 21 to 24th before and after low minus tides the gathering of Bald Eagles. They congregate only when the sculpin fish are trapped in the low tides in the oyster beds. The Great Blue Herons also arrive to catch fish and the Eagles try to steal from them. I shot all of these with a Canon 1DX II and a 300 mm f2.8 Canon II lens with a 1.4 extender ( total of 420 mm) although a slightly longer lens would be helpful at times. The 1.4 extender combination seems to focus faster and is sharper than the 2x extender. This year there were fewer birds with around 10-15 birds in a small area versus as many as 50-60 last year. In the next Blog I will include some of the Great Blue Heron images and also Mt Rainier Nat Park landscapes.
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Bald Eagles at Seabec, Wa in late June during minus tides when they congregate to feed on small fish in the oyster beds during very low tides. All photographs taken with the new Canon 1dx mark ii and 300 mm f2.8 ii with either a 1.4 or 2.0 extender. This is the only time they congregate in quantities during the year with up to 50 or more eagles at a time. At times they fly right over your head, too close to focus but are generally about 30 to 100 feet away and flying back to the trees when not eating fish.
At San Jacinto Wildlife Area I observed a Northern Harrier on Prey and then another appeared to try and steal the Prey, a Coot. I managed to photograph from my van about 40 ft away. As long as you stay in your vehicle the birds are not disturbed. Then I saw a dark large shadow overhead and a Golden Eagle flew over the kill, but did not land. Maybe 2 Harriers were too much for the Eagle, although he was much larger !
More raptors are starting to arrive at San Jacinto Wildlife Area, Perris, CA. There were N Harriers, Red-tailed hawks, a juvenile Bald Eagle, a Golden Eagle, lots of ducks and shorebirds, and this Vermilion Flycatcher. The skunk was preening himself and then searching for food near some water. I had to walk within 10 feet to get by on the trail but he was not concerned and just ignored me- Relief !
We went up to Washington state north of Seattle and photographed a pair of Bald Eagles at their nest. When an immature eagle flew over the nest the 2 nesting Eagles took off after the intruder. After successfully chasing away the younger eagle they celebrated on the branch by vocalizing and mating. The female sat on the nest most of the time and the male went out and brought back a rabbit and a duck to the nest. We did not see any of the young yet but they should hatch any day.
Bald Eagles photographed at San Jacinto Wildlife Area a few days ago. The Eagles are possibly 2 or 3 year olds and don’t have the adult plumage yet. The aerial displays are probably practice for later serious fights or courtship behavior. All photographed with the new Canon 7d mark II and a 400 mm f 5.6 lens.
This last Mon and Thurs I spent photographing the Merlin and at least 3 Golden Eagles were spotted at San Jacinto Wildlife area near Perris, CA. The Golden in the photos was feeding on a Coot at fairly close range. All were taken with a Canon 400 mm 5.6 lens and the new Canon 7d mark II. There is a big improvement over the original 7d with more accurate and faster focusing and 10 fps makes a big difference with birds in flight. There were quite a few kestrels, red-tailed hawks, n harriers, and a Vermilion flycatcher the week before.
We went to the Olympic Peninsula in WA state in mid July and hiked the Hurricane Ridge area near Port Angeles and then to the Pacific Coast at La Push to photograph 2nd Beach. Hoping for more goats but saw lots of Black-tailed Deer. Was shooting with a 17-40mm lens when the deer came towards me and passed within 2 ft. I got one good shot (see above) when it paused at very close range. You do not want to approach wildlife that close, but in this case I stayed perfectly still and it ignored me. Not a lot of birds were seen but a few eagles and the Gray Jay were the highlights. If you can catch great clouds at sunset then the beach could be spectacular but we had heavy fog for 2 nights in a row. Still one of the most incredible beaches on the WA coast.
“You can’t always get what you want”, Mick Jagger.
An Adult Bald Eagle at San Jacinto Wildlife Area past the far NE ponds. Last year there were several immature Eagles but this my first time for an adult.
The Juvenile Bald Eagles were flying over the first pond near the entrance and either fighting or just doing their acrobatic exercises. The Golden on the phone pole was by the Duck Club road.