Edmonds Eagles 2014/15

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Bill Anderson

Super Moderator
Staff member
Thursday afternoon (6/18) my son and I caught one of the Pt. Edwards eagles at the marsh. The eagle posed on one of the telephone poles as two of the afternoon Sounders went by.
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I was hoping it would remain there for the Chicago bound Empire Builder, but it flew down to Willow Creek where it appeared to capture a bird. The heat waves prevented any good photos, but we could see white feathers flying up as the eagle ate something.

The eagle flew to different spots along the creek and ended up spending a few minutes bathing before flying up to a pole beside the creek to dry off.

Daren photographed the action handheld with my 7D + 100-400L zoom. These are his photos, which I think turned out well considering the distortion caused by distance and heat waves. I was using the 5DIII + 500L + 2x teleconverter mounted on a tripod. I don't think my photos turned out any better, just closer with less cropping.

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Bill Anderson

Super Moderator
Staff member
Concluding the series.

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For comparison, here are three of my better photos taken with the 5DIII + 500L + 2x teleconverter mounted on a tripod. I used -1 exposure compensation to keep from blowing out the head and tail.

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Bill Anderson

Super Moderator
Staff member
Monday evening (6/22/15) I checked on the Hutt Park eagle nest. The female appears to still be sitting on eggs while the male is staying close to the nest, possibly due to periodic harassment by the evil minions of the Dark Lord.

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Bill Anderson

Super Moderator
Staff member
Wednesday evening (6/24) one of the Pt. Edwards eagles was perched on a telephone pole on the west side of the marsh next to the railroad tracks.
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The evil minions of the Dark Lord continually harassed the eagle. One went so far as to perch nearby.
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Its mate flew north over the marsh towards the marina and a few minutes later returned south.
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The eagle on the pole flew down to the Willow Creek where I assumed it was taking a bath.
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A few minutes later it flew back to one of the telephone poles. A woman at the #1 viewing platform noticed that one feather was sticking out. The feather dislodged and floated down to the ground.
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Bill Anderson

Super Moderator
Staff member
The starlings flew off and left the eagle to deal with the strafing of an evil minion of the Dark Lord by itself.
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The eagle watched a freight train and the Empire Builder pass by.
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Daren and I went up to Pt. Edwards and found the eagle still perched by the tracks below us.
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Bill Anderson

Super Moderator
Staff member
Monday (7/6) I got my first sight of the Hutt Park baby eagle. As far as I could tell, there is only one eaglet this year.
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The Pt. Edwards eagles did not lay eggs this year. They have spent time hanging around the marsh bathing in Willow Creek, drying off on the telephone pols next to the railroad tracks, and hunting birds by the creek.

A family of crows engaged in harassing the eagle. I think this is the same family which recently lost one of its fledglings to the eagle.
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Bill Anderson

Super Moderator
Staff member
Monday evening (7/13) I checked the Hutt Park nest about a half hour before sunset. The baby was stretching its wings and climbed up the branch from its nest. It may soon start "branching." These shots were taken with the 5DIII + 100-400L II zoom + 1.4x III teleconverter. I did not have time to set up the 500L as I had to pick my son up from tennis. Yes, he does play a lot of tennis.

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The droppings are from one of the parents perched on a branch above the nest. I looked there and on other nearby trees for the parents on guard duty, but did not see them. I guess the baby is large enough to be left on its own.
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Bill Anderson

Super Moderator
Staff member
New Eagle in Town?

Thursday morning (7/16) I spotted an unfamiliar juvenile bald eagle perched on one of the trees on Hanna Park Rd. near Sunset Ave. It looks like a second year bird and may be the offspring of either the Hutt Park or Pt. Edwards pair, both of which raised two eaglets in 2013. The Hutt Park pair raised a single eaglet in 2014.

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Bill Anderson

Super Moderator
Staff member
After visiting the marsh Friday afternoon (7/24), I stopped by the Hutt Park eagles nest. I set up the 5DIII + 500L + 1.4x teleconverter and took all shots with +1&1/3 exposure compensation due to the poor light up in the nest.

Initially junior was just sitting in the nest.
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Then he started flapping.....
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followed by hopping.
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"Branching" and gliding should not be far away. The eagles typically leave Edmonds for two months starting in mid August, so junior has about three weeks left to develop flying and hunting skills.
 
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Bill Anderson

Super Moderator
Staff member
The 2014-15 Edmonds eagle season will soon be drawing to a close as our locals usually disappear for two months between mid August and mid October. I have heard various thoughts as to where they go, but I imagine it is somewhere the salmon are spawning. Predictions are that this year's low, warm rivers will adversely affect salmon spawning, which in turn could affect the eagles.

I spent an hour Tuesday morning (8/4) on Sunset Ave. while my son worked out at the gym. The Seattle bound Empire Builder caught me by surprise as I was photographing birds with my 7DII + 100-400L II zoom. The lens was a little bit much for photographing the train, but I did not have time to retrieve my 7D + 70-200L from the car.

Shell Creek spit is in the background of this photo. It is exposed during low tide and attracts birds that come to drink and bathe in the fresh water.
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I did not notice anything unusual in the photos until I downloaded them at home last night. Something at the spit caught my eye. Close cropping revealed an eagle on the spit in close proximity to geese. I am surprised the geese would get that close to an eagle. The eagle is probably one of the Hutt Park pair. I checked their nest earlier in the week and it appears their baby has recently fledged.
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Bill Anderson

Super Moderator
Staff member
After lunch with Terry, my son Daren and I were headed to the marsh when I turned up Pine St. on a hunch. I was hoping to see the merlin perched in the Pt. Edwards eagle tree at the top of the hill, as has happened on rare occasion. I was very much surprised to see an eagle perched there instead. It is probably one of the Pt. Edwards pair. I had not seen either of them for over two weeks and assumed they had gotten an early start on their two month leave of absence, for they did not have babies this year.

Daren got this nice shot with the 7D + 70-200L zoom.
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I got closer shots with the 7DII + 100-400L II zoom.
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Our national bird gets no respect.
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The time was about 1:30pm. I was hoping for some takeoff shots, but the eagle did not budge. I told Daren that the eagle could sit there for two seconds or two hours, so we left for the marsh. The eagle was still in the tree when we arrived.
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After returning home, we came back to the marsh about 4:30pm before running some errands. The eagle was still perched on the tree and remained there for the hour or so we were at the marsh. I was surprised at how the gulls would go out of their way to make a few passes at the eagle. Some of the gulls flew from Olympic Beach and Harbor Square across the marsh, a distance of nearly a half mile, just to buzz the eagle and fly back.
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I wonder if the eagle was looking for its mate. I don't know if mated pairs travel together when they leave the area.
 
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Bill Anderson

Super Moderator
Staff member
Monday (8/10) one of the Pt. Edwards eagles was perched on the family tree at the top of Pine St. I think it was the female. I am surprised she hasn't taken off yet for her two month vacation since she did not have any babies this year.

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Bill Anderson

Super Moderator
Staff member
Updating the eagle thread just to keep track of the locals. One of the Pt. Edwards pair continues to hang out rather forlornly in town.

Thursday (8/13) I caught it on the Pine St. family tree in the early afternoon while I was at the marsh.
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Later in the evening it flew across the marsh from the direction of the marina.
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It perched on a tree on the fish hatchery grounds and remained until 8:00pm when I had to leave.
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Bill Anderson

Super Moderator
Staff member
Tuesday (9/29) I saw an eagle carrying a fish over Pt. Edwards while I was at the marsh. The return of an eagle to our area signals the end of the 2014-2015 Edmonds eagle season. I'll start a new thread for the 2015-2016 season when I get a better shot to post.

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