This is the molting season for eagles,actually most birds as it’s the hottest. Check out his tail feathers?
I noticed on the Satellite feed smoke moving up from Washington State forest fires. I knew the sunset would be great,so I headed out for a sunset shoot. Couldn’t find anybody around except my Eagle friends. Heat makes all animals lazy……including humans!
As most of you already know……I have a thing for moon/eagle shots. Don’t ask me why,I just do.
There are 12 times each year I can “try” to take them and inside each of those times there are three days that are the best. The three days leading up to the full moon. You can’t shoot on the day of the full moon. The sunsets as the moon rises snuffing out all that golden light! Plus the moon rising times vary. Tonights full moon rises at 9:41 pm while the sunsets a little under half a hour earlier at 9:14 pm. Making any shot a silhouette. Now don’t get me wrong I’ve seen some pretty nice shots of eagles silhouetted but I prefer the gold. I have a saying “I always hunt for the Gold”. Like the Olympics I always try for the Gold,silhouettes for me win the Silver.
You can count on cloudy weather screwing up at least 6 of them. Like tonight!
This leaves only 6 times you can go and roll the dice.
Each photographer has their own preferences of course. I prefer to capture eagles in golden light with the moon in it’s “time window”. The moon rises In the east and is always faint (leading up to the full moon). As the sunsets the moon will get brighter and brighter. Until it’s nighttime and the moon is at it’s brightest point. I’ve found the moon is too faint when It rises in the east and too bright after the sun goes down. I figure there’s about a 20-30 minute “time window” in there where the moons brightness/contrast is perfect! The Goldi-Loks period!
Of course If you do find the moon during this perfect time window there is a 50 – 50 chance you might not find a eagle? The trick is finding both at the same time.
The eagle has to be perched “perfectly”. I’ve found a eagle needs to be perched at the very top of a tree spire or in another place where there is nothing behind them.
This months moon is a Buck moon. Because of weather (clouds) I couldn’t shoot this Buck moon. So I found some archival pictures.
The majority of our greatest inventions have come from observing and duplicating Nature.
For instance,the shape of all airplane wings come directly from the shape of a birds wing! The leading edge is rounded. Air flows over the top edge faster then the bottom edge. Creating a lower pressure on top,which in turn creates lift…..flight!
The Daredevil’s new nest is up much higher then the last one. So when he comes down he is coming in at high speed! He has to slow down so he turns his wings on a angle and drops his legs to increase the surface area!
I was very happy to see that Delilah actually flew over to be with me! I think she’s getting use to me! It’s only taken 1 1/2 years.
I went looking for bears tonight but I couldn’t find a single furry butt anywhere? I originally went out because the cloud structure looked great but by the time sunset came around those beautiful clouds had gone bye bye.
So I was skunked on two fronts tonight but my feathered friends once again saved my non-furry butt!
I was surprised to find that The Daredevil/Delilah had built a new nest on another island! About the only reason why that happens is because the old nest fell down. Probably during a windstorm?
The good news is that If it did fall down It didn’t happen while they were nesting! I saw the Daredevil take a fish up to the nest. Which means he has hungry mouths to feed! I could just barley see where the nest is.
He seemed very animated and very active! He hasn’t had eaglets for several years,so he must be excited!
Both Romeo and Juliette came out to do a fly by when I arrived! By the time I got to Romeo’s place the sun had set. I had spent too much time with The Daredevil….but who could blame me! Time flies (no pun) when I’m with my friends!
When the moon rises in the east it’s always pale or faint. It will continue to rise and to get brighter and brighter. It will be it’s brightest when night has fallen. To take a good picture of the moon the brightness and contrast must be in the ball park. It’s too faint when it just rises and too bright when it’s dark out. So I’ve found there is about(?) a 30 minute time window when the moon is just perfect for shooting! The Goldi Loks time,not too little and not too much.
I took this shot (of a eagle I do not know) because the eagle was perched just right but my timing was off. I was too early. I tried to shoot two other eagle friends but couldn’t because of the angle. Trees got in the way with both of them! Rats! Good thing I got this safety shot!
This is a new eagle for me. It’s a male. He has the territory just north of Romeo/Juliette. I’ve never seen a eagle with feathers/hair(?) under their chin before? So I am going to call him Mr.Whiskers.
I went to visit my feathered friend Romeo. We have a routine. When I come around the corner in my boat I always look at Beck island (nest island) to watch for when he see’s me? When he does he immediately flies over to me and does several circles around.He then glides (his gliding is faster than my boat) to our meeting spot,a rocky islet I call his throne.
However……..on this occasion he came out from the north catching me off guard! Silly eagle. I wonder what he was doing over there and that’s not his territory? At any rate it was good to see him. I chatted with him for a while and then noticed that Juliette came over to do a fly by! I always like it when she perches here as well because she almost always sings me a song! She may have a egg and just wanted a excuse to get some exercise?
The mountains had a beautiful snowy appearance to them! A great background only enhances the subject!
This month the full moon is called a Wolf moon. I walked Long Beach with a friend and being the ever diligent photographer I took along one of my cameras………just in case?
As we walked towards Greenpoint (Park campground) I noticed the moon was at a perfect angle and contrast to do a eagle/moon shot! I only get a handful of these moments each year! So as we walked and chatted I kept a close eye on the tree line for a perching eagle! We walked for over a hour and never saw a single one. Than as we reached Greenpoint I noticed one drying it’s wings out! An eagle will open it’s wing downward to allow the air to dry the wings underside. Being wet means it’s heavier. Being heavier means the eagle will have to expend more energy. Which in turn means they’ll need to eat more often.
So they dry themselves off to be lighter. The feathers are more responsive to the air currents when they are dry.
I went to see If Romeo was home? I haven’t seen him in almost a month! When I arrived at our meeting spot I found a Gull on Romeo’s perch. I told him he better get out of here as my friend was going to be coming over real soon! Which he promptly did when he saw Romeo flying towards him!
I haven’t been able to get out on a shoot in awhile! I was physically heading down to the boat shed last night but saw some clouds moving in,so I turned around and went back! Which turned out to be a mistake because the sunset ended up being one of those great ones!
So when I saw todays weather was about the same and knew that the next three days were going to be pouring rain….I decided to go out. BUT….that incoming Frontal system came in early and snuffed the sunset!
So great sunset last night,didn’t go out. Poor sunset tonight,I did go out! Trying to be at the right place at the right time can be complicated!
This is Delilah. She’s the Daredevil’s mate. I should say this is Delilah #2. Delilah #1 disappeared over a year ago. She just didn’t come back from the salmon grounds. I haven’t a clue what happened?
When this female showed up months later I was thrilled to see who I thought was Delilah but soon realized it wasn’t my old friend but a stranger. I felt a shadow cross my heart when I realized my friend was gone!
You can see that frontal system moving in. Snuffed the light BIG time! Before I left tonight I checked the satellite feed. I saw it coming but went anyways! I needed to go see my friend and just get out and breath the fresh air!
August for many birds is molting time. Which makes sense when you think about it. If you were going to undress you’d want to do it in the hottest month!
Romeo dropped a large primary feather tonight!
As a photographer I do something most do not do. I keep both eyes open when I shoot. Watch anyone taking a shot and 99% of them will be closing one eye. My photographic instructor is the only other person I know of that shot with both eyes open. The advantage of doing this is you can see far more on the periphery! (my dominant eye is my right with my left being secondary)
I bring this up because If I had my left eye closed I would never of seen the primary feather drop! As Romeo went past my right eye was tracking/shooting him but my left eye saw that primary feather fall.
A eagle has over 7000 feathers but there are only 5 large feathers on each wing . They are called the “primaries”. There are also 12 large white tail feathers.
I’ve looked at my shots and figure the feather that fell was the second primary on his left wing.
I consider it a honour when one of my eagle friends gives me a feather but of course they do not chose to just get rid of it. It’s just shear fluke to be honest! At any rate I love recieving them!
I also play a game at this time of year. When one of my molting friends zips past there is usually a light fluffy piece of down released! It drifts downwind. The game I talk about is me trying to grab that piece of downy fluff before it hits the water! I missed two of them last night.
I was able to get out on a evening shoot tonight. I originally wanted to go looking for bears but it turned out I left too late. I did see a bear on my way out close to town. I normally do not see any bears on Meares island but tonight there was one grazing in the tall grass. It was shallow where it was and the tide was coming up, so I wouldn’t of gotten stuck. Some flat bays empty quickly!
Only time to visit both the Daredevil and Romeo tonight. Juliette did fly over to say hello as well!