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Posts Tagged ‘Haliaeetus leucocephalus’

Do you ever feel the need to scream at the top of your lungs like this Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) that I spotted on Saturday morning at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge? I think that most of us have moments in our lives when our emotions overwhelm us and we feel a need to vent. Why not scream? 

As the old children’s rhyme tells us, “I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream.” 🙂

screaming eagle

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

 

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This Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) was initially facing away from me on Monday at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge.  Somehow, though, the eagle sensed me approaching and turned its head slightly to glare at me. The eagle seemed to take a little time to check me out before deciding to take off.

I am presenting the images below in reverse chronological order, starting with the “glare” and working backwards in time to the moment when I first spotted the eagle. I had just rounded the bend of a trail and lookeding upwards was shocked to see that I was almost directly this eagle. It is definitely rare for me to get this close to an eagle and to get such detailed shots of its feathers.

bald eagle

bald eagle

bald eagle

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

 

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This immature Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) certainly was aware of my presence on Monday at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge, judging by the intensity of the stare it directed toward me. I am guessing that the eagle is about three years old—it takes almost five years for its head feathers to turn completely white and for its beak to turn yellow. At this stage of development, bald eagles look a little scruffy and have not yet acquired the majestic look that I associate with this species.

If you are interested in seeing images of the developmental stages of the bald eagle, check out this posting from onthewingphotography.com that shows an eagle’s age progression from one to five years old.

Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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When I first spotted this bird perched on a distant piece of floating driftwood, I assumed that it was a cormorant. The more I looked at it, though, the more I thought that the body proportions were wrong for a cormorant.

I was a bit shocked when I zoomed in and discovered that it was a Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus). Why was the eagle perched like this? Was it looking for a moment of solitude?

Somehow the solitary eagle reminded me of a shipwrecked sailor, adrift in the vast expanses of the ocean.

Bald Eagle

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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There are barriers on several roads to protect the nesting eagles at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge from human interference, but with a long lens I was able to confirm on Tuesday that one of the Bald Eagles (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) was sitting on the nest. With a little luck, we will have eaglets again this year—last year there were two of them at this nesting site.

The two images below are actually different versions of the same photo. Initially I was going to post just the second image, but then decided to crop it a bit to give viewers a slightly better view of the eagle. I have also noticed that images in a landscape format display better in the WordPress Reader than those in a portrait or square format.

nesting Bald Eagle

nesting Bald Eagle

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

 

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As many of you know, I love to photograph Bald Eagles (Haliaeetus leucocephalus). There is something about the majesty and strength of these birds that never fails to impress and inspire me.

On Tuesday, a beautiful sunny day. there were several eagles flying about in the skies over Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge. I am not sure if they were motivated by love or by competition, but it was definitely fun to watch them in action. I had lost sight of a pair that I had been tracking when suddenly I heard the sound of an eagle’s cry that seemed to be really close. I glanced upwards and saw an eagle on an exposed branch in a nearby tree.

My heart was pumping and I probably was holding my breath, but I managed to capture a few shots that may well be the my best shots ever of a Bald Eagle. I was very fortunate to have been presented a situation and I was thrilled to be able to take advantage of it so well. (If you click on the images, you can see more amazing details, like the pink color of the inside of the eagle’s mouth.)

It is moments like this that help to keep me motivated as a wildlife photographer. These may be my best shots of an eagle so far, but who knows, there may be more and better images in the future.

bald eagle

bald eagle

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

 

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Do you wait for optimal light conditions when you are taking photographs? This past weekend I watched a number of videos of landscape photographers in action. “Action” might be a slight exaggeration, because it seemed like they spent a lot of time waiting for the perfect lighting conditions before they took their shots. The landscape photographers had pre-scouted their locations and watched the weather forecasts and knew the kind of images they hoped to capture.

Yesterday I did a posting that talked about the importance of shooting with whatever gear you have. My approach to weather and lighting is similar. I go out whenever I can and try to make the best of whatever conditions I find myself in. As I have mentioned before, I also tend to be an opportunistic shooter, so I never know what I will see and therefore can’t pre-plan my shots.

That was the situation early one morning last week as I wandered the trails at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge. The skies were heavily overcast and the Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) that I spotted in a tree was far away.

So what did I do? I tried to capture some of the different poses of the eagle from as many different angles as I could. I worked the scene, knowing full well that none of my photos would be great.

Some say that if you want to be a professional photographer, you only display your best work. That may be true, but that is one of the reasons why I don’t particularly aspire to be a professional. As the subheading of my blog suggests, I’m on a creative journey with photography—I am content to share with others the images that I am able to capture.

As a child, I remember begin told repeatedly to do the best that I can and I continue to follow that advice to this day.

Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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