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Posts Tagged ‘eagle’

No matter how many times it happens, it is always exciting to see a Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus). Last week I spotted this one at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge and I was happy when it presented me with a chance to take this profile shot.

I had watched as the eagle flew to this tree and stealthily approached it. I was able to get relatively close, because the eagle was looking away from me and could not see me moving closer. However, the butt-first pose that it presented to me is not the most flattering for any creature, so I waited and hoped that the eagle would change its position. After what seemed like an eternity, the eagle moved its head to the side and I was finally able to get a few shots in which the eye was visible. Patience paid off one more time.


Bald Eagle

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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The wind was blowing strongly last Friday morning at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge, giving this Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) a bad case of “bed head.” I think that the wind may also have distracted the eagle a little, which allowed me to move closer to the eagle that I might otherwise have been able to do.

bald eagle

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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It was cold and breezy yesterday at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge, but at least the sun was shining. Most of the birds seemed to be hiding, probably trying to stay warm, so I was particularly thrilled when I finally spotted this Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) in a tree overhanging the trail on which I was walking.

The eagle appears to have spread its tail feathers a bit to provide some additional warmth for its feet, though I must confess that I have no idea if eagles actually get cold feet. I moved forward slowly, knowing that I would probably spook the eagle, but I needed to pass under the tree in which it was perched. I took the second shot when I was closer to the eagle and it seems pretty apparent that it had spotted me. Sure enough, the eagle took off a few seconds later.

After so much time overseas this past month, it was really nice to get back to the familiar surroundings of “my” wildlife refuge. Unfortunately, a major construction project has closed large sections of my favorite trail that runs along parallel to the water, so I may have to search for a different location to shoot this winter. The good news is that I am blessed to live in an area with a lot of options for wildlife photography. My goal will be to find another location that is remote enough that it is not too crowded—I generally prefer to be by myself when I am experiencing nature.

Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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This is definitely not Paris. Yesterday, less than 24 hours after my return from my stay in Paris, I was back on the trails at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge, one of my favorite places to photograph wildlife.

It was a cloudy, blustery day and there was not a lot of wildlife active, but I did manage to capture this shot of a Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus). From a distance, I spotted the top of the eagle’s head as it hunkered down in a nest, presumably seeking shelter from the wind. Although I was a pretty far away, it spotted me and quickly took to the air. My vision is really good after my cataract removal surgery a couple of years ago, but when it comes to being “eagle-eyed,” I am no match for the real thing.

Bald Eagle

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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When I heard the loud call of a Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) yesterday I had to turn back in the direction I had come on a trail at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge. Had I walked underneath the tree in which the eagle was perched? Had it just flown in?

I did not ponder these questions for long, because it was abundantly clear that the eagle was really close and I wanted to try to get a shot. I backtracked slowly and caught sight of the eagle just after I had passed it—it was almost hidden by the foliage. I didn’t want to risk spooking the eagle, so I stayed in place and captured the first image below. Apparently I am not as stealthy as I think, for the image suggests that the eagle was monitoring my every step.

I grew a little bolder and moved to a position from which I had a clearer view of the eagle. Several times the eagle seemed to glance down at me and flex its talons a bit in a not-too-subtle reminder that it was merely tolerating my presence. After a short while, the eagle tired of our little game and took off without warning.

As you can probably tell from the images, yesterday was an overcast day. Although I really like the brilliant blue sky that served as a backdrop to some shots of a bald eagle earlier this month, I think that the clouds diffused the light and allowed me to capture more details in the white head feathers than when the sun was shining brightly.

 

Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle

© 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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