Bald Eagle

When – 2nd July, 2017
Where – Peace Valley Park, along the long south-east side

Having spent a very fruitful day at the John Heinz Wildlife Refuge, we planned to spend an evening at Peace Valley Park, specifically in the small shallow swampy pool near the Nature Center. The aim was to photograph some great-blue herons and possibly some other wading birds which we knew roosted here. Little did we know that we’d get to photograph a Bald Eagle, that too in a ‘compromising’ situation.

We arrived at the park late afternoon and parked at the Nature Center. There was just one heron, hunting on the far side of the pool and slowly moving further away. Since it was still quite sunny we figured it would be a little while before more herons arrived. We decided to walk along the trail on the south-east side of the lake hoping to spot some woodpeckers and nuthatches.

It was here, about a half-mile from the bridge and along the trail that we spotted a bald eagle overhead, flying away from the lake. As we walked further, the eagle returned and swiftly flew across the lake towards the woods on the north-west side. We guessed it was shuttling between it’s nest and a possible hunting ground. To test this theory out, we got off the trail and settled at the lakeshore waiting for the eagle fly toward us again.

A short while later, to our delight, the eagle reappeared. I quickly fired off a few shots with my camera. As I was following the action, I saw that the bald eagle was being driven away by a lone kingbird!

These four shots below capture the ‘attack’ best. The tiny kingbird seems to almost be riding the huge eagle, pecking on the back of it’s neck. The eagle, despite it’s fiery yellow eyes has an expression of surprise and bewilderment on it’s face. Whoever thought a mighty Bald Eagle could be chased away by a spunky little bird!

WB_20170702_DSC_6086
Nikon D500, Nikkor 200-500mm | 1/1000, f/8 @ ISO 400
Nikon D500, Nikkor 200-500mm | 1/1000, f/8 @ ISO 180
Nikon D500, Nikkor 200-500mm | 1/1000, f/8 @ ISO 200
Nikon D500, Nikkor 200-500mm | 1/1000, f/8 @ ISO 200

Bird watching and bird photography are working out a lot like this for me at this stage – since I’m not too well versed with the habitats and the habits of my subjects, I’m almost always in for a surprise. We went to the park to photograph herons strutting about, but instead captured a fine moment between a bald eagle and a kingbird.

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