“If you associate with eagles,
you will learn how to soar to great heights.
If you run with dogs,
you will learn how to bark.”
Ojo Michael E.
Great quote, what do you make out of it?
Today I associated with the eagles. I guided a couple in the eagle preserve, who came a long way to photograph the eagles. My first question in the morning was “What picture do you want to shoot today?”
“Eagles in flight” was the answer.
So we lined up along the river in an area with few obstructions and the distant mountains as a backdrop. It was a crystal clear day, temperatures in the teens, no wind. Despite being bundled up that means cold feet and fingers, while waiting for the eagles to show up.
Well, we were rewarded with some nice pictures. The above image shows one adult bald eagle crossing the river. How did I do this?
Doesn’t look like sushi grade salmon to me, but those two think it’s worth fighting about.
It’s raining today.
Good time for image editing, cooking, and appreciating warm feet and a dry roof.
“No you go away! This is my fish.”
“I am bigger than you are. Beat it.”
“So what. I am smarter than you are.”
Although I don’t speak Eagle nor Raven, I am sure something like that was exchanged between these two.
The unwritten rule in the bald eagle kingdom is that one eagle feasts on a fish at a time. Other eagles may be lingering around, but they have to await their turn. Interestingly other birds, like ravens, magpies, and seagulls are tolerated to nip at the fish at the same time.
This is the first time that I have observed a shouting match between a raven and an eagle, maybe because it was a juvenile bald eagle, who is still learning, or maybe it was a particular feisty raven?
“Sometimes chaos is the very thing that deliberately shakes up our neatly ordered world’s in order to get us out of the neatly ordered ruts that have kept us stuck.”
Craig D. Lounsbrough
My eagle of the day will get you dizzy after a while…
I’m trying to get shots of eagles that don’t just sit. That’s a challenge. They sit a lot. And when they move, they are hard to capture.
So here it is. Eagle, shaking it.
“A bird is safe in its nest,
but that is not what its wings are made for.”
Every year in October there is an amazing congregation of bald eagles in the Chilkat Valley. Hundreds if not thousands of these stately birds are attracted from as far as Oregon to gather in the spawning ground of chum salmon. In an amazing twist of evolution salmon have found a place late in the year that does not freeze over and is supporting the survival of fertilized salmon eggs. For the adult salmon that also means the end of their life cycle. Their internal clock is set to expire once they have reached their birth place, laid eggs and fertilized them. For the eagles that means easy prey at a difficult time. Many other rivers freeze over and fish become inaccessible to the birds.
“Every giant leap for mankind resulting from a technological advance requires a commensurate step in the opposite direction – a counterweight to ground us in humanity.”
Dense fog lingered yesterday in the Upper Lynn Canal grounding the local helicopter fleet. Usually they shuttle visitors onto a nearby glacier, so they can experience the magic of walking on ice or riding in a dogsled.
Obviously I am on a different schedule and I would rather spend a winter with the dogs or go on a long hike to experience the beauty of remote ice fields, but not everybody has the opportunity to do so. Nevertheless, I can’t help the thought that the best way to connect with Nature is to be in Nature. Taking the helicopter feels like a thrilling shortcut to me.
Seems to me taking shortcuts is a virtue of our times.
Grounded in humanity…
What does that mean?
Who is teaching us about humanity, one of the seven virtues?
Without much fanfare my friends the arctic terns have left. Off to Antarctica…
They arrived in Alaska in May, fed on eulachons, found a mate, raised their chicks, and off they went on their annual 20,000 mile journey. It’s just an unimaginable twist of evolution that these tiny birds embark on this long trip every year. How do they find their feeding grounds in Antarctica, how do they find their way back to this particular spot at the end of the Inside Passage? It’s a miracle.
Soon, I will have to make a choice, too. Where to spend winter? Should I try the snowbird approach, too and travel South? Or should I spend another winter in Alaska?
If I hadn’t clipped the wing of one of the terns I could retire from photographing terns.
This aerial ballet is part of their courtship. It also involves feeding a fish to the future mate. Terns apparently mate for life. The “high flight” and “fish feeding” flight is mostly seen in couples that nest for the first time.
Three weeks from now we might see young terns hatching, although the adults are nesting in an industrial fuel tank area…
Please read the previous post on the amazing annual migration of this gracious sea bird.