Saturday, February 25, 2006

Bald Eagle Nest

We took a drive to Lake Henshaw today for our first digiscoping experiment. After confirmation that Bald Eagles had an active nest there, I was eager to use my newly rigged-up digiscope to see if I could get a photograph of them.

Due to an appointment I couldn't get to the lake until about 12:30 p.m. knowing that I couldn't stay long. Upon arrival there was no eagle in view. So, we decided to wait to see if either the hen or her mate would make an appearance.

The nest is huge -- so big that when an adult eagle is incubating it is not visable from below. The tree were the nest is located is upslope from the road where we must park and view. It is also about 300 yards from where we could set up the digiscope. So it is impossible to see if an eagle is in the nest.

After about 40 minutes of waiting to see an eagle I felt compelled to pack up and try again another day as I needed to be home by 3:00 p.m.

Then two ravens came soaring overhead ... one had nesting material in it's beak. That intrigued me so I followed it with my binocs. Both birds put on an interesting aerial show and I was captivated. Then I saw the bird drop the nesting material and a few moments later land on the ground. It picked up something ... I couldn't see what it was. It flew towards the lake shore and landed and proceeded to eat whatever it had picked up. Some poor hapless creature, no doubt. After a few minutes the raven's activity attracted 5 turkey vultures looking for a meal to steal. Since I hadn't had any luck with the eagles I decided to photograph the drama on the ground. Unfortunately, my photographic attempt failed. With that disappointment I decided it was time to go home.

Just my luck ... with the scope removed from sighting the eagles nest I turned just in time to see one of the bald eagles return to the nest. Wouldn't you know it! I had a great opportunity to get a pretty exciting burst of photographs (or even a movie) ... if I'd just been a little more patient. My first lesson in learning to photograph wild birds ... be patient and make sure the camera is set for the most optimal shot. Okay, so now you know how much of a novice I really am.

Although my first attempt met with failure, it was still an exciting hour of bird watching. You can be sure that I'll be back up at Lake Henshaw to try again. Oh, that eagles nest photo in the upper left corner is the one I photographed today ... sans the eagles., of course. Yep, I know it is pretty poor ... but didn't I just mention I'm a novice. So much to learn -- so little time!

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