Click On Photographs To Englarge
Well, the eagles are beginning to show up at Millerton Lake again. Some are returning to Millerton Lake for the winter from their home at Great Slave Lake in Canada. These eagles set up “housekeeping nests” but do not breed here. There are resident pairs also but less plentiful or evident.
A few days ago, a bald eagle flew by late in the day, while I was taking some ultra-wide shots of the historic Millerton Courthouse area. The eagle is visible in the photo but very small. Of course, where is the big lens when you need it?
Cropped- Bald Eagle More Evident
Yesterday I was walking along the Blue Oak Trail which leads to the marina area of Winchell Cove and had a good opportunity to photograph a Red-Tailed Hawk soon after leaving the parking area. The hawk finally flew away and I headed down the trail hoping to see the hawk again.
I could see a large bird in the top of a tree and when I got closer it turned out not to be the hawk but a 2nd year Bald Eagle. They look similar to a Golden Eagle and I always hope it will be a Golden Eagle. We do have a nesting pair at Millerton but I have not seen either bird yet no matter how much I have hiked around the lake the past two years.
I got some photographs and video. It seems like no matter how many shots I take, there is always a branch covering a part of the bird. Often, they are turned away or the light highlights their feathers but their eyes are in the shadow. Crow feathers in their beaks don’t make them too attractive either. I think crows are an inexhaustible food source for them.
I look at classic eagle photographs and they are mostly head shots that fill the frame. Many are at the 200mm range. I say to myself, “Was this a captive bird?” My lens is 400mm with a 1.4X extender (560mm) and even a cropped 42-megapixel photo is the entire bird NOT filling the frame. It is extremely difficult to get sharp photographs of birds in flight (BIF). I use a Sony A7R3 and 100-400 GM lens. When the camera is on “auto” the default shutter speed is 1/500. This is not fast enough for hand holding or BIF. I use “S” (shutter priority) and dial it to 1/640
The eagle flew but in the direction of my travel on the trail and I watched him land in a tree about one 3rd of a mile away along the trail. It is nice that the trail weaves in and out and I was able to approach the new location unobserved by the eagle. There is a certain proximity they allow and that is it. Away they go again. So, every time out is a learning experience. I hope I haven’t missed any Bobcats, or Mountain Lions as I walk along looking up in the trees.
I picked him up again and got more photographs including an in-flight shot.
Uncropped Aproach Photo
The eagle video is here: