M called me this morning from up the road about 4 miles, and practically shouted “I just saw an eagle!” There was more to the story, but the sighting was nearby, so I threw on my boots and grabbed my camera and the bird book and headed up there.
I didn’t see it. I drove back and forth in the area for about 10 minutes and nothing happened.
I was just starting home when, about a quarter mile ahead I did see a big bird wheel across the road. I marked the spot mentally and slowed the car over to the edge where I thought it should be… and there it was. Big and brown on a tree branch about 40 feet up, way bigger than a hawk. I turned on the camera and turned off the car and started the video recording. I shot just a few seconds then slowly started to open the car door… and saw him lean forward and take off. So then I jumped out of the car and tried to keep him in the viewfinder, all zoomed up close, and not get hit by passing cars. I didn’t do too well, most of the 60 seconds is not of the eagle. But there were a few seconds that were just breathtaking, big swooping sweeps of wings in the gentle snow as he wheeled around and then headed off east.
Click it for the high resolution version. Here are 13 sequential frames (one big wing flap down and up) starting from upper right. I cut and pasted these all together onto the background of the first frame. It seems to be a juvenile bald eagle, from what we can see in the books that we have. Here’s a single frame:
It was pretty stunning. I’ve seen eagles before, and they’re always breathtaking, but we’ve never seen one so close to Dragonwood.