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Posts Tagged ‘Bald Eagle’

Do eagles kiss? I am not sure if they do, but these two Bald Eagles (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) were definitely beak-to-beak this morning at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge.

After a week in the urban confines of Brussels, Belgium, it was nice to get out in the wild again, though I must confess that I was still somewhat jet-lagged. Not long ago I posted a photo of an eagle couple on this same perch and I suspect that this is the same pair. Earlier I had seen another eagle couple near another nesting site. Last year I was thrilled to get a peek at some young eaglets and I am hoping to be able to do the same this year.

kissing eagles

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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Most of the year I tend to see individual Bald Eagles (Haliaeetus leucocephalus), but recently I have been seeing them in pairs, like this couple that I spotted last week perched on a nesting platform for ospreys at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge. It will soon be time to occupy a nearby nest.

If you look closely at the two eagles, you will notice that one that the one on the left is smaller in size—I believe that is the male. I do not know if this is the same couple, but an eagle couple successfully raised two eaglets in a nest in a tree that is not that far away from this platform, which housed an active osprey nest last year.

bald eagles

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

 

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In theory, it is easier to spot a Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) now that the leaves have fallen from the trees. In reality, however, the eagles often seem to like to perch in locations where they are at least partially hidden by branches.

That was certainly the case this past Monday when I spotted this bald eagle at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge. There was a lot of tangled vegetation between me and the eagle, so there was no way that I could get any closer. I was happy that I was able to find a shooting angle that allowed me to get a clear view of the eagle’s head and tail.

Bald Eagle

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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Whenever I walk the trails parallel to the water at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge I try to stay alert, because I never know when a Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) will come zooming by, as this one did last week.

I had my camera already set to relatively appropriate settings and my biggest challenge was to acquire the eagle in my viewfinder before it flew out of sight. I was fortunate that the eagle was flying on a level plane, so I did not have to worry about having to zoom the lens in or out. I took a burst of shots and the image below was the one that I liked the best, primarily because of the wing position and the catch light in the eye.

Each opportunity to photograph a bird in flight is unique. I never know when circumstances will work together to permit me to capture a good in-flight image, but it feels almost magical when somehow I do.

 

Bald Eagle

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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As I was observing a Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) earlier this week at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge, something seemed to catch its eye and without warning the eagle took off into the air.

I was a little slow in reacting, but managed to capture an in-flight shot. The image you see is framed just as I took it. I was already partially zoomed out at 375mm on my 150-600mm, but that was not wide enough to capture the full wingspan of the eagle. When the action happens so quickly, it is hard to simultaneously track the moving subject and use the zoom—it is a bit like trying to rub your stomach and pat your head at the same time.

The second shot shows the eagle just before the takeoff. I like the tension of its body position and and the intense focus of the eagle’s eyes.

The final shot was taken before the other two and gives you an idea of how the eagle was perched as I approached it. There were a lot of branches surrounding the eagle and I tried to move slowly and cautiously to get a mostly unobstructed shot.

For those of you in the United States celebrating today, I wish you a very happy Thanksgiving Day. It is good to pause and reflect on all the blessings in our lives, not just on the one day each year that is set aside for doing so. I thank all of you for your continuous support and encouragement for me as I share my photography and my life in this blog. Over the last six years it has become part of my daily life and I consider many of you to be a part of my extended family.

“In everything give thanks.”

Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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What’s the price of freedom? Today in the United States it is Veterans Day, a day we set aside to honor all of the selfless men and women who have served and continue to serve in our armed forces, often enduring considerable sacrifice and separation for our common benefit.

In many other places in the world, today is celebrated as Armistice Day and 2018 is special because it marks the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I, the war that many hoped would be the war to end all wars. The world is still a dangerous place and military forces, I believe, are a necessary element in ensuring national security.

I served for twenty years in the United States Army, so this posting is as much personal as it is patriotic. I have lived through periods of time when veterans have been reviled and other times when they have been honored.

I hope that you can join me today in thanking and saluting all veterans for their service and it is my sincere prayer that your sense of gratitude will continue long after the parades are over and the celebration are completed.

(I spotted this Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) last week at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge and since it is one of the symbols of the United States, it seemed appropriate to feature the Bald Eagle in this posting.)

Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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As I rounded a curve on a trail at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge one morning last week, I spotted a fierce looking Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) almost directly overhead in a tree. I wasn’t sure if the eagle had seen me, but when it looked down and glared at me, I realized it was quite aware of my presence.

In several earlier postings I have mentioned that this is a tough time of the year for spotting birds, because most of the leaves are still on the trees. Often I can hear birds, but I can’t see them. It turns out that the leaves on the trees can also hide me from the birds sometimes. I think that is how I ended up almost directly below this eagle, forced to shot upwards at a somewhat uncomfortable angle.

It wasn’t long before the eagle decided that it had had enough of me and it took off. Alas, I was not able to capture any in-flight shots, but I am definitely happy with the shots I managed to get of the perched bald eagle.

Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

 

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