An Eagle in winter. A captivating sight, with its gaudy talons, iconic shnoz, superb offensive line play. It has to be up there as far as animal encounters go. Twice this month I’ve gotten to witness the big bird bully a smaller one. Once a lone Eagle picking on a Red-Breasted Merganser in Morristown New Jersey. The other, many Eagles beat up the Atlanta Falcons in South Philadelphia. During the tailgate with my dad, uncles, and cousins, a few stones throws from the Delaware river, I saw unmistakably, a pair of Eagles in flight. I’m not superstitious, but this is a good trend. And a week later we crushed the Vikings and my little neck clams cooked in Yards Brawler stole the show in the parking lot.
But I had seen my first eagle even a few days before the divisional round against the falcons, at my local watering hole on January 3rd, I was shocked as a heron flew above my head closely followed by the Eagle below. It was a great encounter, and the light was pretty good and I think I did well to expose it. Maybe a 1/10th or 2 over. Bit contrasty, but it was filling my frame and I was pleased. Generally at f/9, 3200th, 1600 ISO and 600mm on a 7D mkII. But I got distracted by stalking the local fox for a few days and didn’t see the eagle for a few weeks. Immediately below is the first of two encounters. Second to follow.
I was sitting at Speedwell Lake near the falls catching some decent sun on some Hooded Merganser and a lone Bufflehead drake with my hood (on my Eagles jacket) up. Which was a mistake. Finally I caught out of the corner of my eye a diving eagle. Again and again it dove. I abandoned the drakes immediately. The eagle was in a cove the Herons frequent. I assumed it was after fish. I saw the merganser there but I didn’t think the eagle was after it. Until I realized it was kicking up water and fleeing whenever the eagle flew low. I couldn’t get closer. But I guess there was another place I could’ve stood where the sun would be a bit more even. But I would’ve had to leave the waters edge for 3 or 4 minutes. So I did near my best with the situation and got some useful shots. The merganser got away. Pictures below
I can only hope to see such things in my near backyard. The winter is an interesting time for bird watching. As the ice confines them to tightly packed open patches of water. Some smaller lakes that freeze over will be devoid of life. And some of my favorite spots will still be open and full of predator and prey. It brings into focus the great habitats we have here in the northeast.
To commemorate the Eagles victories. I got together with my cousin Matt Weikel in philly and had him take his new GH4 to the Linc and pop off a few abstractions of the stands. Its nice to accomplish a vision. I’d like to do a few more versions maybe with the stands populated. Although I doubt I’ll ever be roaming around during a game with my camera. It’s a thought. But I usually carry beverages down by the Linc. Not cameras. Although I did think of bringing my AE-1 Program. 35mm is so compact. Anyways until next time. Still have an Egret post coming before I start seeing them again in spring. Unfortunately if the Eagles win the Super Bowl I’m on a plane the next morning to Miami for a catalog shoot, and I would miss the parade, if it were to happen. I’d be the only guy getting paid to be pissed off on a beach in Miami.
Thanks for viewing!