Tuesday, November 6, 2012


I'm going to state an observation about bald eagles a little later on but, I just wanted to mention a word about photographs - especially photographs that get tossed out.  I shoot a lot of pictures when I pull that camera up to my face.  Some aren't too bad.  The thing is that I like to post photos that are, in my estimation, really good photos considering my limited ability combined with the average photography equipment I use.  Sometimes I get some OK photos that I'm tempted to post but don't because of this or that lacking quality or content.  The two photos above are throw a ways.  The second eagle in the back isn't clear.  The shot is pretty good but the content just doesn't get it.  These two eagles are new finds for me.  They were down on Muddy Creek at the lower quarter of Douglas Lake.  I've never seen them there.  I'm wondering if they might not be transients.  I doubt it but, one never knows.  Wonder why I haven't run across them prior today.

 Which brings me to the observation part of this entry.  Over the past six days I have  observed eight pairs of adult bald eagles and eleven Juvenal bald eagles.  These have all been seen on the lower half of Douglas Lake.  This doesn't take into account the three pair of adult and six Juvenal eagles on the upper half of Douglas Lake.  This is an amazing eagle count.  That's a total of 22 adults and 17 Juvenals across the lake for a total of 39 bald eagles that I know of.    If I allow for a 5% discrepancy by counting eagles twice I get 37 eagles.  That is a lot of bald eagles.  I don't know if anyone would care to know this number but there it is.  The adults will produce at least two fledglings this Spring which will add an additional 22 fledglings from the 11 pairs of known eagles raising the total population next year to 61.  If one eagle needs approximately 3 miles of territory we get a number like 183 miles of land and water.  Gonna be an interesting Spring.  

Anyway - I do take a lot of pictures.  For instance today, I ran into four new juvanile bald eagles.  The sky was very overcast with drizzle which prevented me from selecting fast lens speeds.  Without fast lens speed, blur is guaranteed and dark pictures are usually the result.  Blur and dark shots equal junk.  See the shots of the new young eagles below:
The above shot is of an eagle that wouldn't wait for me to get close enough for a decent shot.  I took this picture to document the sighting.  Below is another, different Juvenal and again the shot is to document him in the count.
Once in awhile I'll come up on an eagle that will sit for the shot.  Sometimes there are extenuating circumstances that prevent a good, clean picture.  The boat is rocking, water is too shallow to get close to the shore, eagle is highly back lighted, tree limbs in the way and on and on.  Below is a picture of a young eagle that is totally unacceptable.  It's all wrong but, he is documented in the eagle count I keep.  He's a new one.

The insufficient light causes dark pictures due to slow shutter speeds.  Flying birds are most difficult to capture successfully with clarity and sharpness.

Insufficient shutter speed forces one to "pan" the camera with the bird and that isn't easy with a two foot long lens hanging off the camera.  Note that the shots are not crisp and they are dark lacking color.  I don't use any photo shop software so what comes out of the camera is pretty much what you see with my photos.

Again, the above three shots are dark and lack color.  They don't jump out at you.  They aren't impressive.  These great eagles deserve better than this.  Quality bird shots are challenging when using a 500 mm lens free hand on a rocking, vibrating boat.  Add very overcast sky and rain and it''s almost impossible to get great pictures.

I sure wish today would have been sunny.  I could have made some absolutely great pictures had it been so.  Eagles were coming at me from everywhere.  I've not seen this many ever anywhere and definitely not on Douglas Lake.  This is an amazing count of bald eagles - at least it seems so to me.

Many times I take shots just to keep in practice.  I have billions of gull pictures but, I still snap a few shots when a gull posses in just the right way.

The gull pictures are fair but I'll discard all of them because I have, as stated earlier, billions of them already.  These are practice shots.  I panned all four of these pictures.

Below are some long distance shots of loons.  I've never, ever seen so many loons on the lake ever.  I counted 37 loons on Muddy Creek proper and at the mouth of Muddy Creek.  Just a sensational count.  These guys have to be travelling North and stopped to feed and rest.  They are all in their Winter plumage which is drab brown.


Again - lackluster photos but, you get an idea of what a loon looks like.  There are some great shots else ware on this blog depicting loons.

So, there you have it.  You've learned how to take bad pictures.  All the above shots will be discarded and will not be saved in my wildlife library of wildlife photos.  It's no big deal.  Today just wasn't a good photographic day.

I'm planning on going up to Beech Creek tomorrow with the canoe again to photograph woods birds from the shoreline.  It all depends upon the weather.  If things look really overcast and rainy I may take the motor boat to Chilhowee and the Scona Lodge site.  As I've said before, I'm not a planner and usually react to an idea at a moments notice.  We'll see what tomorrow brings.   See ya....