Morning drink for the White-tailed sea eagle

Close to where we live there is a very faithful and productive pair of White-tailed sea eagles. They have raised chicks every year for as long as we have been here, and some years they manage to bring two new eagles into the world. This season they originally had three chicks, but to the best of my knowledge only one has reached the fledgling state.

Anyway, any birding foray in my ‘hood carries with it the possibility of a sea-eagle encounter. And last Saturday it finally happened too… I had gone down to the local meadow, which lies only a few hundred metres from the sea eagle nest, to see what was going on. I was there at 4:15AM, and was happy to discover 3 cranes in among the many greylag geese. Then I found a good spot to lie down on my belly, draped the camo net over me, and waited.

Initially, very little happened. The greylag geese returned to their morning habits and sauntered over, but the morning light was still too scarce for anything useful in the photo genre. After about an hour, all the geese took to the air; a sure sign that some eagle activity was taking place. The first eagle to show up was the yearling; it landed behind a small knave and I could only see its head, if that. Then came one of the adults, but it too landed behind the knave. I took some docu shots which I won’t bore you with here, and waited some more. Half an hour later the adult returned, and this time I was better prepared. As it turned out the bird was just thirsty. Remember to click on the thumbnails – it is a gallery, so you can scroll through the full-size images once you have clicked on the first one.

Once the geese were gone, the other birds had space to operate in. A few Wood Sandpipers came along, as did some Common Snipes. They were just that little bit too far away for GREAT shots, but sometimes GOOD shots are nice to have too.

All in all a very rewarding morning, even if the sore lower back is literally a pain. I’m just not designed to be on my belly, arched like that, for 4 hours + 😀

  • Aperture: ƒ/6.3
  • Camera: Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III
  • Taken: 2 August, 2014
  • Focal length: 700mm
  • ISO: 320
  • Shutter speed: 1/640s

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