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I had a good afternoon photographing Eagles by the river. As I drove down Birch Drive there was one perched on a tree over the road. I have gotten pictures of an Eagle on this tree previously and it is a great spot to see them fairly close. They seem reasonably tolerant of people as there were a few people stopped and admiring them when I got there. After watching and photographing it on the branch for some time, I got a nice picture as it was taking off from the branch (below).
When I drove down to get a look at the nest by the river there was an Eagle on a log in the river. I got several shots there and then a few as it flew up in to a nearby tree and later flew off again. I could see that the female was laying in the nest. She has been there at least the past two days, so she must finally be on an egg(s). I did not get any good pictures today of the Eagles at the nest, but will keep working on that. If they are successful at nurturing the egg(s) and hatching young Eaglets (is that the right name?) they will be around for a few months. Plenty of time to get more pictures. I also saw my friend the Screech Owl today and got a couple of more pictures. [See more Eagle photos]
It was a pretty good day. Temperature in the teens and a sunny blue sky. It has been quiet at the bird feeders this week - not much bird seed eaten. The Cardinals have been around on occasion, but today, in the bright sun I saw both of them, flitting around the trees by the feeders. The male would not let the female sit for ten seconds as he chased her all over the yard, from tree to tree, to the feeders and back to the trees. She didn't have much interest in being close to him today. It was tough getting a picture, because neither bird sat still for too long. I had to compose and focus fast. We had a pair nesting last summer. I hope these two stick around. [See more backyard birds]
The immature Eagle on the left had a great perch right above the river in the evening - until an adult came and chased him off his branch. He flew to another nearby tree and looked back at the branch he had just left and the new occupant.
Two adults are pretty settled-in on their nearby nest. Far enough from the road that one needs binoculars, a spotting scope or a very high magnification camera lens to get a good look at them. These birds were close to the road, which made it easy to take a few pictures from the car window.
More Eagle pictures here.
I went looking for Eagles this morning, but they were too far away to get a picture. I waited around for an hour and they didn't move. It is just amazing how they can perch for hours on one branch. I had gotten a tip and good directions on where to find a Screech-Owl and went to look for it. I knew it was in a Wood-Duck house, but I staked out the wrong one and waited for another hour on a +8 degree F winter morning and did not see the Owl. So I went back to Parker's woods where I was pretty sure I could find a Barred Owl. He barely cracked open his eyes in the bright mid-day sun, but was very gracious to let me take a few pictures. (See part two below)
After getting the Barred Owl pictures I decided to go back for a second look for the Screech Owl and I found it this time. I had been looking in the wrong place. This was a first for me. I had never seen an Eastern Screech Owl in the red morph plumage. He poked his head out of the Wood Duck house in the bright sun and squinted at me but let me take several pictures. What fun. (Lot's more Owls under the 'Birds' menu at the top of the page.)
This afternoon I got a triple - three Eagles sitting together in a tree over the Winnebago River. I believe it is the male who is calling because he seems to be smaller than the Eagle below (the females are larger than the males). It appears that he may be having a discussion with the immature Eagle, but he was calling in response to another Eagle which was out of sight. It's my dads birthday today - maybe he is singing 'Happy Birthday...'.
Today I watched as a Eagle tried to nonchalantly pick up a branch that was frozen in the ice. He walked over to it, stepped on the branch, grasped his talon around it and started to walk away, but the branch wouldn't budge. He tugged on it a few times and looked around as if to see if anyone was watching, then casually walked a few steps away. He stood for a few minutes glancing left and right, fluffed his wings and then approached the frozen branch again. This time tugging on it with his beak till it finally snapped sending him flying backwards on to his tail feathers. It was a small victory, and would not add much to the growing nest but he flew off to the nest with his contribution anyway. A few minutes later one of the Eagles returned to the nest with a much larger branch from farther down the river. (There are more Eagles under the 'Birds' menu at the top of the page).
Driving past the High School Thursday morning I took a glance down Birch Drive by the river and saw a large dark bird sitting on a branch right over the road. It was completely in silhouette, but I new in an instant that it was an Eagle. I drove slowly under the bird so as not to spook it. As I came to a stop on the side of the road cars and trucks were zooming by and didn't seem to bother the Eagle at all. It was a beautiful clear-blue-sky morning and now I could see the Eagle in full sunlight. He/she kept an eye on me but was very accommodating to pose while I stepped out of the car and took several pictures. It is amazing to see these birds so close to town. (There are more Eagle pictures under the 'Birds' menu at the top of the page).
Just a few notes about my photos. See more on Facebook.