February 17, 2014

In Search Of Eagles

One of the best parts of this time of year around here is that we are smack dab in the middle of migration routes for Bald Eagles.  Usually, we get piles and piles of them that hang out at Farmington Bay, at times there have been several hundred at a time.  A big reason they hang out here for so long on their journey is that every winter, the DWR kills off the carp that overtake and damage the wetlands.  The abundant dead carp makes for a nice buffet for the eagles.  This year, because of concerns over disease being spread (we've lost a lot of eagles this winter to West Nile Virus), the DWR made the decision to not kill off the carp in an effort to keep the eagles from congregating and possibly spreading the disease further.  So, the eagles have been pretty scarce this winter.  I've been out to the bay a couple of times and only seen an eagle or two.  Today wasn't much better, with no more than about ten birds.

For the most part, the eagles were content to hang out way out on the ice.  This guy was no exception.
1/2000 Sec - f/5.6 - ISO 1000 - 800 mm

There was one juvenile that made a somewhat close flyby.  Gotta love the seagull that decided to photo-bomb me!
1/2000 Sec - f/6.3 - ISO 800 - 800 mm

These aren't eagles, these are Canadian Geese.  There's always plenty of them around.  They are like the sheep of the skies (apologies to my Canadian family and friends).
1/1600 Sec - f/5.6 - ISO 1600 - 800 mm

1/2000 Sec - f/5.6 - ISO 640 - 800 mm

This is an actual Bald Eagle.  In the eagle tree.  This old tree on the way into the Bay usually has several birds .  It was nice to actually see one there today.
1/2000 Sec - f/6.3 - ISO 500 - 800 mm

Still not eagles.
1/2000 Sec - f/6.3 - ISO 640 - 800 mm

After spending a couple of hours at the bay, I decided it was time to try another spot where Bald Eagles are know to hang out so I headed up the canyon.  I was happy to see more eagles, even though they were hanging out on the top of the rock cliffs.
1/2000 Sec - f/6.3 - ISO 400 - 800 mm

This is also not an eagle, it's a Mule Deer.  We get lots of these around this area.  This one was nice enough  to pose for me.
1/2000 Sec - f/5.6 - ISO 1000 - 800 mm

And, a whole flock of deer, including a couple of little bucks.
1/2000 Sec - f/2.8 - ISO 160 - 400 mm

While heading down the canyon, I came across this guy.  He was just hanging out in this field with dozens of sheep (the Canadian Goose of the farm).  I thought it was a bit odd as he was not too close to what would be his normal habitat.  After sitting and watching him for a minute, I discovered why he was there.  He took off and headed to the far side of the field where there was a dead sheep.  Easy lunch.
1/1600 Sec - f/5.6 - ISO 500 - 800 mm

I took one more detour on the way home, heading up over Trapper's loop into the Ogden Valley.  I took the long way around Pineview Reservoir.  I found this guy hanging out high up in a tree along the Highway.  The light wasn't fantastic, and he was a bit back-lit, but he was pretty content to hang out where he was so I was content to sit and watch him for a bit.
1/1600 Sec - f/5.6 - ISO 200 - 800 mm

1/2000 Sec - f/5.6 - ISO 250 - 800 mm

1/2000 Sec - f/6.3 - ISO 250 - 800 mm

So, not the most amazing results.  But, I got to spend some quality time with my 1Dx and the 400mm f/2.8 and that's always a good thing.


  1. Glad you point out those thingys that are not eagles! LOL! Nice shots!

  2. Well, you know, not everyone is a wildlife expert!


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