Saturday, January 8, 2011

Winter Time is Eagle Time

Canon 1D MK IV; Canon 600 f4 with 1.4TC (840mm) @f8 1/2500 -.33EC ISO1000 @100+ yds

Northeast USA is a wonderful place to be in winter to enjoy the American Bald Eagle.  As winter freezes rivers and lakes in Canada and the Northeast USA, the Bald Eagles migrate south in search of easier food supplies.  They congregate in areas of open water with a good supply of fish.  Places like the Conowingo Dam in Maryland, the reservoirs along the Hudson River Valley and the Delaware River Valley become stopping and/or wintering spots for the Eagles.  Joan and I have found some places that have been good for us for eagle sightings as well as Eagle Photography.  The Conowingo Dam in Maryland is a popular place for birders and photographers to congregate in October and November to view and photograph the eagles.  The activity continues through the winter but with less activity than is seen in October and November.  I am not certain why-but have a theory that the eagles that stop at Conowingo end up going father south for the winter months.  We have found that the Northern Delaware water shed region has been a very good area for observing and photographing the Bald Eagle in winter.  We visited one such area on Monday-January 3 and were treated to an entire day of eagles fishing in open water at the upper end of a reservoir.  It was exciting to watch and photograph.  We could not successfully photograph part of it as there were trees between the road and the stream entering the reservoir.  One tree there had 12 adult bald eagles perched in it. The photography is done from the vehicle on a window mount.  The reason for this is that leaving the vehicle is prohibited by law in that area when the eagles have migrated there.  Many of the eagles there have migrated from areas where they have little to no contact with humans and people outside of vehicles alarm them and they fly away and do not come back.  We have previously used a small boat launch parking lot and could be within 35 to 50 yards of the perched and flying and fishing eagles.  However, that parking lot is closed this winter because of individuals last winter ignoring the regulations and they were getting out of the vehicle.  Images can still be done in that area but the distance is 100 plus yards.

A very solid mounting system is required.  Some use window bags, but I have found with large lenses to get sharp results I have to use a sturdy window mount (such as a BM or Kirk) along with ball head and sidekick Gimbal.

Here are some shots from January 3:

Immature taking flight:
Canon 1D MK IV; Canon 600 f4 @f5.6 1/1600 ISO1600 @about 100 yds 

NYS Blue banded D44 After Takeoff:

Canon 1D MK IV; Canon 600 f4 @f5 1/1250 ISO1600 @about 100 yds

NYS Blue D44 surveying the situation:
Canon 1D MK IV; Canon 600 f4  @f7.1 -.33EC 1/160 ISO640 @about 60 yds

NYS Blue Y50 sitting on stump watching ducks:
Canon 1D MK IV; Canon 600 f4 @f5 1/640 -.33EC ISO1600 @60 yds

Maryland Pink Band U2 Landing on stump with a fish:
Canon 1D MK IV; Canon 600 f4 with 1.4TC (840mm) @f8 1/1250 -.33EC ISO1000 @100+ yds

Immature Bald Eagle in flight:
Canon 1D MK IV; Canon 600 f4  @f6.3 1/1600 -1EC ISO400 @100+ yds

Immature coming in for a catch:
Canon 1D MK IV; Canon 600 f4 @f4 1/4000 -.33EC ISO2500 @about 100 yds

Three adults looking for small fish along edge just before dark:
Canon 1D MK IV; Canon 600 f4 @f4 1/320 ISO1000 @about 100 yds

Immature on stump watching ducks:
Canon 1D MK IV; Canon 600 f4 with 1.4TC (840mm) @f9 1/1600-.33EC ISO1000 @about 60 yds


Until next time!

Jim Borden

18 comments:

Mike B. @ slugyard.com said...

Absolutely gorgeous shots. Thanks for sharing them.

alwaysbcmom.com said...

Wow! These are such gorgeous birds and amazing shots. Thank you so much for sharing!!

Kate said...

Your photos are remarkable...catching the birds at just the right time and the detail is fantastic!

Iowa Gardening Woman said...

What an outstanding bunch of photos.

chubskulit said...

Gorgeous shots.

My camera critter post, hope you can visit.

ladyfi said...

Wow wow wow wow wow! Spectacular shots!

jo©o said...

I like that you show us the shooting distance.
Gorgeous actions shot as usual.

eileeninmd said...

Fantastic series on the eagles!

eileeninmd said...

Fantastic series on the eagles!

KaHolly said...

Extraordinary images, every single one. In the summers, I am fortunate to live in an area where there are eagles all of the time (Atlantic Canada) and I see them daily, but seldom is there an opportunity to capture them as you have here. Beautifully done.

Ritchie said...

Wow so nice shots of eagles! I like this site. Keep it working every day.

Wildlife Photography

Outdoor Blogger Network said...

These photos still amaze me....
And, I'm here to let you know that your blog has been chosen as one of our Featured Outdoor Bloggers on the Outdoor Blogger Network.
The announcement post is up and your RSS feed is live on the homepage of the OBN.
Well done here, I have no doubt others will love your blog as much as we do.
Rebecca and Joe

Sarah @ The Strength of Faith said...

Jim I am so happy I stumbled upon your blog - these photographs are beautiful!

kmurray said...

One word: Amazing!

Learned about your blog via the OBN and I'm glad I did!

MNAngler said...

Found you through OBN like Kari. AMAZING pictures! Keep up the great work. You'll definitely be on my regular reading list.

Kinsey Barnard said...

Stunning wildlife photography! Your image of the loons brings tears to my eyes. There is nothing so lovely as a loon no more beautiful sound than its call.

Passinthru Outdoors said...

WOW, just incredible.

Thanks for sharing.

Passinthru Outdoors Blog - Sharing the Passion

JimB said...

Thanks for all of the comments. The feature by OBN also helped me find other outdoor blogs that I have found enjoyable to visit and read.