Edmonds Eagles 2014/15

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Bill Anderson

Super Moderator
Staff member
#1
Our local resident bald eagle season runs from mid-October through mid-August. The eagles disappear from mid-August through mid-October. I don't know there they go, but I assume it is somewhere where salmon are spawning.

The Pt. Edwards eagles returned Oct. 13th in 2011 and 2012. Last year they returned Oct. 7, so I start looking for them on the first of October. There was a report on Tweeters, an e-mail birding list for the state of Washington, that a flock of eagles was seen the day before in the air over Mukilteo, located just north of Edmonds.

Thursday (10/2/14) my son and I were at the fishing pier with my 5DIII + 500L telephoto lens + 2x teleconverter. I snapped some shots of the spar at Hutt Park, home to the Hutt Park pair of bald eagles. Close examination of my photos showed two large birds passing by the spar.
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As I was leaving the pier, something scared the hundreds of gulls roosting on the marina breakwater, the usual sign of an eagle passing overhead. I looked around, but did not see an eagle.
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My son and I went to check things out at Pt. Edwards and there it was, one of the Pt. Edwards pair perched on one of their regular perches at the end of Pt. Edwards Place. The eagle has landed and the 2014/15 eagle season has begun.
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A nearby heron was looking towards the eagle and probably thinking, "There goes the neighborhood........ again."
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Bill Anderson

Super Moderator
Staff member
#2
Monday afternoon (10/6) I found one of the Pt. Edwards eagles perched on its usual spot off Marina Beach. It made a swoop over the water a short distance in front of the piling and came up with a small fish. I was shooting with the 5DIII + 500L telephoto mounted on a tripod and missed the exact moment the eagle caught the fish. The late afternoon sunlight made lighting difficult. I was shooting with -2 exposure compensation to keep from burning out the bright white head and tail feathers.

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Bill Anderson

Super Moderator
Staff member
#4
Conclusion:

I saw that the eagle was returning to its perch, so I focused on the piling and snapped away.
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The bald eagle's eyes sight is amazing that it could see such a small fish in the water and snatch it up.
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Watching the action with me was a couple from China that Terry and I had earlier met at the fish hatchery. They enjoyed the experience and I enjoyed the opportunity to practice speaking Mandarin with them.
 
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Terry O

Active Member
#7
Yep, ethereal.

Here's that takeoff sequence we talked about. These were taken with the 7D and 500 on manual 1/1000s f8 ISO 600 or so. Would have been nice to be set up further south....:(
Depth of Focus was good though...

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Bill Anderson

Super Moderator
Staff member
#9
Thursday's (10/9/14) marine layer fog created some ethereal scenes as the eagle made its rounds throughout the day of its regular perches by the ferry dock and off Marina Park.
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I can use Picasa's auto contrast feature to create some surrealistic effects.
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The gulls have finally taken notice of its return.
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Bill Anderson

Super Moderator
Staff member
#11
Friday (10/10) Terry and I were photographing herons at the marsh when all 7-8 of them flew up at once. That usually signals the arrival of an eagle. Less than a minute later I spotted one flying in from the vicinity of Marina Beach. I am always amazed how the herons can spot an eagle before I can. I tracked it with my 7D + 100-400L telephoto zoom.
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The eagle made a semi-circle and landed by Willow Creek on the far south side of the marsh.
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The eagle remained by the creek for several minutes and the herons returned. You can see the eagle in the distance on the ground.
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Bill Anderson

Super Moderator
Staff member
#12
I had mounted my 5DIII + 500L telephoto + 2x teleconverter on a tripod and took these shots with that setup. Despite the cloud cover, I still had to underexpose the shots to keep from blowing out the eagle's bright white head and tail feathers. I also had to use fine focus to keep the camera from locking on to intervening blades of grass which were barely visible through the viewfinder.

The eagle spent several minutes on the ground by the creek, but did not appear to be eating, drinking, or bathing. We wondered if it were waiting to ambush some returning ducks.
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The eagle eventually flew to a nearby pole adjacent to the railroad tracks on the west side of the marsh.
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Bill Anderson

Super Moderator
Staff member
#14

Bill Anderson

Super Moderator
Staff member
#16
Definitely a 'flying start,' Bill :). Lets hope it continues!
So far I have only seen one eagle, so I don't think its mate has returned yet. Based on what I have seen in previous years, I don't think the two travel together as a pair when they take their annual two month "Sabbatical".
 

Bill Anderson

Super Moderator
Staff member
#17
Wednesday morning (10/15) as I was driving my son to tennis in nearby Mountlake Terrace, I noticed that one of the Lake Ballinger eagles has returned. After dropping my son off, I returned to take some photos.

It was very dark and started raining after I arrived.
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Artsy shot using Picasa'a auto contrast feature. The wind was blowing fairly hard as well, but the eagle did not seek the shelter of its nest.
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Bill Anderson

Super Moderator
Staff member
#18
Our local resident bald eagle season runs from mid-October through mid-August. The eagles disappear from mid-August through mid-October. I don't know there they go, but I assume it is somewhere where salmon are spawning.
One of my contacts at the Washington State Department of Fish & Wildlife (DFW) replied that our local eagles have been know to travel as far Alaska and California, but they primarily fly to British Columbia. I am surprised they go that far as the Stillaguamish, Skagitt, and Noosack rivers are all fairly close and have good salmon runs.

So far I have seen the return of one of the Pt.Edwards and one of the Lake Ballinger eagles. I believe both are males. Based on my photos from previous years, I don't think mated pairs spend the "off season" together; but they both eventually return to the "family" nesting territory to recontact their mate for the new breeding season.
 

Bill Anderson

Super Moderator
Staff member
#19
More eagles are returning to the area.

Thursday (10/16/14) Janine and I saw a subadult flying southeast from the Sound towards the marsh.
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Friday (10/17/14) I photographed what I believe is one of the Hutt Park eagles in the firs near the Shell Creek spit.
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I then drove to Marina Park to catch one of the Pt. Edwards pair making a run over the Sound and back to its perch.
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Shot at 1/160 and f/22 to get the background in focus.
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