Carolina Wild Photo (the blog)

Just Eagles This Time

by on Nov.25, 2016, under Locations

Bald Eagle glides in for the catchThis trip was two days at Conowingo Dam, with a third day spent looking for birds at E.B. Forsythe NWR in New Jersey and Bombay Hook NWR in Delaware. Ninety precent of Forsythe was closed for repairs to the wildlife drive, dikes and pumps. We found a dozen or so Brandt, a half dozen Black Ducks and a pair of Mallards, none of which were in suitable light for good images. We found virtually nothing at Bombay Hook NWR. That place has been a bust the past three times I’ve visited. I think I’m scratching that one off my list.

Eagle against Autumn colorsJuvenile Eagle preparing for a catch
Thankfully I had better luck at Conowingo Dam (Susquehanna River in Maryland). I can’t say I tire of photographing the Eagles at Conowingo because they’re interesting to watch, and it’s a real challenge to get good images. The long drive (8 hours) to get there makes it frustrating if the power company isn’t releasing water at the dam to generate electricity. With more water flowing it attracts more Eagles because they can find fish faster and easier, providing great action for photos. Without that, the activity level drops, meaning fewer photo opportunities.
Adult Eagle preparing with a catch
While the weather on this trip was as close to perfect as one could ask for, there were no water releases from the dam, so not much action. Once again, what action there was mostly stayed on the far side of the river. There were, however, a few opportunities closer in and I got several passable images.
Adult Eagle with talons outstretched a split second before the catch
I found that I’ve improved on my technique for acquiring targets and following them, and I came back with more action shots than ever before. But again, most were too far away to have any detail. At least it’s practice for future trips when hopefully the Eagles fly closer so I can make the most of the situation. The ones I’ve posted here are some of the better shots from this trip, with the “one-handed” catch below being my favorite.
This confident adult Eagle makes a one-handed catch
You don’t have to be a photographer to visit Conowingo though, as many folks just come to watch the Eagles. If you haven’t seen Bald Eagles catching fish and having aerial combat trying to steal fish from each, you’re missing a treat.

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