There is a nearby body of water that has a section that does not completely freeze in winter due to an incoming stream. Many fish congregate at that confluence because food is washed into the lake and the open water is likely more oxygenated. The area where the stream enters the lake has numerous shoreline trees. And often throughout the winter, those trees create launching areas for hungry American bald eagles to fish the open waters.
There are several online venues that track the annual return and departure of these eagles to this particular location. While it is probable that many of the observed eagles return to the area year after year, others may come and go, only spending part of the winter in the area before moving on. Bird watchers, photographers, and writers (sometimes even just moderately interested locals) follow the online sources of information on these birds and head to the lake to observe the eagles. It is a regular occurrence to observe individuals with multiple thousands of dollars of photography gear looking for that “one great shot” of eagles in flight or catching a fish.
Recently it seemed that the period of the highest numbers of eagles was drawing to a close. Other potential feeding locations were opening due to the spring thaw and it was logical to assume that the high numbers of the winter eagles would soon decline as they moved on to other locales. Most of the long-time observers were expressing the idea that the period of peak viewing was almost over. It was at that point I ended my research, planned my outing, and went forward with an agenda to observe, photograph, and write about the eagles.
The appointed day dawned bright and clear. The temperatures were favorable for lighter weight clothing (ease of movement) as well as a hat and sunglasses. The camera was charged and ready and all of the ancillary equipment had been checked and re-checked. Maps and directions were on the front seat and snacks and beverages were ready. Off to the lake!
It was spectacular. Eagle interactions were the order of the day as I captured a large number of images of adult and juvenile eagles in close proximity. There were also opportunities to photograph individuals waiting for a fish to rise. The planning had paid off with the ability to be at the right place at the right time to accomplish my goals on this particular expedition.
Soon these eagles will be gone, to return to this location next winter. But I have recently been made aware of a permanent eagle nest in a completely different location, far from this lake. It’s time to start the planning process again.