Thursday, November 15, 2012


The GPS and camera were loaded onto the Gheenoe and I was off down the lake in search for the young eagle with the designation of C  2.  And, I forgot the Canon Elph camera.  Oh well!  No panoramic shots.
The C 2 eagle story is told on preceding entries so I won't get into it again here.  The morning was very cold and the insulated coveralls felt great.  Muck Arctic boots replaced the tennis shoes on my feet.   Perfect comfort was guaranteed.  I was prepared to run non stop for at least four hours up one shoreline and down the other on Douglas Lake in order to find C  2 bald eagle.  The binoculars were at my face for much of the entire trip.  I looked into every tree that had any size.  Then after an hour I saw an immature bald eagle perched in a tree.  He was ready to take flight.  I reached behind me and felt for the camera with the big lens and pulled it forward and to my face without slowing the boat.  He was ready to launch from the limb he was on.

I didn't have time to adjust anything.  Point and shoot.  Ignore the speeding boat and hope the shutter speed was fast enough to stop the motion of his leap into space.  It all sounds exciting, doesn't it?   That's because it is.  The whole process of wildlife photography is challenging.  Add the deck of a boat as the shooting platform and one has his work cut out for him.
Got him!  Later inspection of the shots indicate a bit of blur but, I can live with it.  These shots are for documentary purposes and not museum quality.  I'm just doing the best I can under the circumstances.  It must be nice to be able to stand on stable ground and photograph, for instance, bears.

My eyes searched for that big C 2 tag on the eagle's under-wing.  It wasn't there.  This was not C 2.  He was, however, a gorgeous youngster and I gave him my best effort.

If I had to guess I'd say he was about 2 1/2 years old.  I wonder what his story is.

Its amazing how the bald eagle impacts one's psyche.  I, for one, can't watch one in flight without experiencing chills - not actual cold chills but, the pride one feels when a fight of air force F-14's fly over in formation.  You can watch video's and you can look at the perfect pictures in National Geographic Magazine but, you don't feel the impact until you experience a bald eagle up close in his environment and hear his loud "Caree - Caree as he flies closely over your head and casts his eyes upon you as he glides over top you.  It's a monumental experience!

This fellow is impressive!  I've noticed a lack of adult eagles on the shorelines of the lake.  I don't understand it.  I believe the immature eagles are migrating down to Tennessee from points North but, where are the adults?  I saw only one adult today and he was very far away.  Of course I didn't go to the upper lake.  I was staying on the middle to lower lake where I found C  2 last week.  After all - he's the only reason I'm out here today.

 He was moving away quickly and would soon be out of range of the camera.  That's alright.  He is in that magic box and I can take him home with me.
He will be a fine adult eagle one day and will take his place as representative of this nation, The United States Of America.  Note that I didn't say the government.  I wouldn't embarrass his noble name by implying he should represent the bunch of idiots that call themselves the government of this nation today.  Those impostors are represented by the South end of a horse heading North.
The eagle above is the same eagle that I posted to start this blog entry.  He is the second immature bald eagle I came upon today.  You will see that he has much more white in his plumage making him at least a 3 1/2 year old bird.  He should be displaying his adult plumage by the end of next year I'd think.  He was sitting in a tall pine along the shoreline with the sun behind him.  I took a couple pictures and tried to maneuver the boat around to his right side which would put the sun to my back.  Look how the images become more "solid and distinct."

He wasn't changing his pose.  He simply sat there looking in one direction looking -----Regal!  Then he started shifting his weight from one foot to the other indicating he was becoming antsy and preparing to exit stage right.

He is spectacular!  A bald eagle taking flight must be experienced first hand to appreciate.  There's something about this dynamic, large raptor that instills awe in a person when it takes flight.

After photographing bald eagles, it's difficult to go photograph, well, ducks.
He was gone in a flash. They can cover a lot of sky in a short time frame.   I didn't find C 2 today but I enjoyed the privilege of sharing time with the eagles today.  

Tomorrow is a work day and I'll be attempting to install power steering on the jon boat I've been using lately.  I can't wait to get on it.  

I'm dying to do a lake camp out but it's difficult living so far from the pristine lakes I want to camp on.  I'll see if I can work something out.  Maybe a Christmas camp out is in order.