Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Beautiful Bald Eagles!!

Soaring Eagle

What a wonderful experience I was able to have this weekend, thanks to some awesome friends and my new Master Maine Guide friend!  Anyone who knows me, knows how much I respect wildlife.  For that reason, I'm not listing the names of folks who led me to this wonderful new location, or where it is.  Whenever someone trusts me enough to share a proven wildlife location or especially a nesting or den location with me, I vow to keep the location private and not compromise the privacy or safety of the animals or birds.

With that said, I'd like to share a bit of my experience with you.  One of my Maine Guide friends got me in contact with his Master Maine Guide friend, who impressed me immensely with her knowledge of wildlife & birding locations in her area & beyond.  Her enthusiasm was contagious!  A friend & I met her at the location and even before the car had stopped, I saw the most gorgeous bald eagle soaring overhead!   Most eagle nests I've seen have been rather cluttered and hidden with branches, trees & sticks blocking a clear view for photography.  This location was about as perfect as it gets!  A clearing allowed me to setup my tripod & lens a good distance away & have a clear view of the nest and an even better view of the eagles as they soared overhead.

Bald Eagle in Nest

Lori photographed by KTGAW

Saturday was an extremely windy day, gusts were estimated to be around 40mph.  I was on my way back from visiting family & friends in Connecticut and I'd been hit with spring fever. I didn't even have hat, gloves or a warm coat in the truck... how unlike me!  The conditions were so windy, that for over an hour & a half, we watched as two, and sometimes FOUR bald eagles soared directly overhead.  The pair kept trying to get back into the nest, but the wind had definitely compromised their steering abilities.  It was exhilarating and frustrating at the same time!  I found myself cheering out loud for the eagle each time they came at the nest... imagining they must be getting exhausted from all the failed attempts to land.  Finally, we went back to the house for a hot cup of tea & homemade cookies, leaving the eagles to continue their struggle.  I felt guilty... not that me staying there cheering them on would have made a difference.

Eagle fighting the winds

Determined Eagle

On the way by the nest later that afternoon, I was relieved to see a white head peeking over the edge of the nest.  Thankfully, one of them was able to make it back.  The next morning, my Maine Guide friend & I (with hot coffee cups loaded & peanut butter on toast) headed back to the nest.  It was 23 degrees sometime after 7am and the wind was just starting to pick up.  Rather chilly, but thankfully, with borrowed warm clothes, I was more prepared.  There was one eagle in the nest and within an hour, the second one appeared.  Soon, they were both up in the air again!  We weren't sure if there is an egg (or eggs) currently on the nest, but judging by their behavior, I'd say not yet.  Both eagles were bringing nesting materials to add.  I'm guessing that they're preforming last minute prep work. Incubation for bald eagle eggs is 35 days. My Master Maine Guide friend says they are nesting late and should have eggs already, but they are a young couple.  Perhaps something happened to their first clutch and they are preparing to lay a second. 

Eagle bringing nesting materials

Eagle bringing nesting materials         

Lori & her lens   Photo by "Bad Jimmy"
I will try to check back on the progress of this nesting couple and will keep in touch with my Master Maine Guide friend, who I know will also be keeping an eye on their progress as well.  All I can say, is I wish them luck!  The top of that tall tree, on the hillside overlooking the water doesn't seem like a very warm, dry place where I'd be wanting to sit for 35 days this spring in Maine! 

Thanks everyone for checking in!  I'll be adding some of the eagle shots to my website over the next few days.  As always, I welcome feedback!


Anonymous said...

FANTASTIC photos!!!!!

Unknown said...

really cool!! I just love your work and your blog :-)

Anonymous said...

super shots!

Kerry in CT said...

These are beautiful!!

Lori A. Davis, Photographer said...

Thank you everyone! It was such a wonderful experience. I do hope to go back and keep track of their progress as a nesting pair. Thanks for following!