Western Washington supports a large population of resident Bald Eagles, which make themselves very visible to us as they soar on the thermals, fish the rivers, streams and beaches and hunt small mammals (including small pets) in the agricultural fields and suburbs. Since moving to Whidbey Island, I believe that I have heard an Eagle's territorial squeaking almost every single day of the year, whenever I've paid attention. There is a large nest a block away from our house, east of Oak Harbor, and I keep my formerly outdoor Montana-raised cats safely inside the house now. I love to photograph these huge birds in flight, perched in the trees or hanging out along the waterways.
A Noble Profile at Meerkerk Gardens on Whidbey Island.
These two were captured last summer as my husband Ferd and I motored up the Swinomish Channel.
The winter months bring a huge increase in the Bald Eagle population! A large number of them migrate to this area from their summer breeding grounds in Alaska and Canada, and it is easy to find hundreds of them gathered together to fish and hunt. The Skagit Eagle Festival celebrates this great opportunity to view and learn about our national bird. It is a month-long celebration of the Bald Eagle sponsored by Skagit County with activities taking place in Concrete, Rockport and Marblemount every full weekend in January.
One weekend, Ferd and I drove to the Nooksack River to join the throngs of photographers at the Bridge on Mosquito Lake Road. We arrived at sunrise and, while the eagle activity was relatively subdued and distant on this day, I was able to get some fun images. Their behaviors and interactions are always exciting to watch!
The beautiful Nooksack River view from the Mosquito Lake Road Bridge. There are 6 Eagles in this picture, but I can only see the one at this scale.
The closest fly-by I was able to catch.
I love the spread wings against the texture of the trees.
This beauty was taking some major steps!
He walked along the log a ways, then stopped and fluffed his feathers. Did he have an alarming thought... a sudden realization? Maybe he felt someone watching him?
Then he took off to fly over to the other side of the river for some privacy.
To be continued...
I hope you've enjoyed Part 1 of my Bald Eagle Encounters. Please let me know which is your favorite photograph or comment on your own experiences with these magnificent birds!