16 January 2008
Another day with the Eagles
We headed up to Yakumo today to take another look at the Eagles. After the recent cold snap Yakumo was looking more wintry than ever with deep deep snowfields making off road birding almost impossible. I tried. Waist deep snow. I need snowshoes.........they're on the list for next winter.
There seemed to be a lot of Eagles today. I'd say at least 50, maybe more. About 20 or so adult Stellers, about 15 or so adult White Taileds and the rest immatures of both species. There were no Eagles perched in trees where it was safe to stop......except this one.
Now that would have been the perfect shot if the branch/twigs weren't there. This individual played hide and seek with me for a minute or so before it flew off. Still it's the closest I've ever been to a wild Eagle (no more than 6 or 7 metres).
Most of today's shots are of birds in flight ('bifs' to use birder's jargon).
Of course there were lots of birds perched on trees on the valley sides but not close enough for a picture. So bifs it is. I have to say I haven't really got the bif knack yet...........metering is tricky especially against white skies, I lose focus a lot of the time (should I be using AI servo? Single or continuous shooting? I was using one shot focus and single shooting-perhaps a mistake) and basically I'm just not quick enough most of the time.
In case you didn't know, the black and white ones are the Stellers Sea Eagles and the brown ones are the White Tailed Eagles.
And here are 2 immatures. The first is a Stellers and the second a White Tailed. I think. The first one has the big Stellers beak anyway.
It was very very cold..........my hands and feet were like blocks of ice when I got back to the car.
I also saw something else of interest today..................some birdwatchers. Not photographers (I usually see a few of those around) but actual birdwatchers dressed in green and carrying scopes on tripods. I only saw them as we drove past near the river mouth in Yakumo. Who were they? I'd never seen them before. Perhaps not locals. Did they know just 3 or 4km away there were loads of Eagles? They all had their scopes trained on a single White Tailed Eagle that seems to always perch on a tree next to the main coastal road (but not near enough for a good pic).............
Inland there wasn't so much around although I did see another Crested Kingfisher very briefly. Other than that lots of Brown Dipper, a few Japanese Wagtail, some Goosander and Goldeneye and a female Bunting of some sort out of the corner of my eye when I was floundering through a snow drift. At the river mouth were groups of Whooper Swan, a few common Ducks, a flock of 30 or 40 Dunlin and a few Gulls with several Glaucous and Glaucous Winged. Offshore were rafts of Scaup, Red Breasted Merganser, Black Scoter and Goldeneye with a smattering of Long Tailed Duck and a few Grebes including at least 1 Great Crested.
You know that mountain that I always post pics of? Here's a view of it from the back and a few km up the coast.