Golden EagleNov. 19, 2007

Strictly speaking, I'm not sure whether my golden eagle photos belong here, since they were taken from Jo Hayes Vista (on Tussey Mountain), about 20 minutes driving time from Cooper's Pond, State College. However, many of the other photos are an hour's walking time from here, so timewise it is all by the feeder.

During late fall, Jo Hayes Vista is a magnificent place from which to watch golden eagles and many other hawks during their fall migration south (since there are no golden eagles nesting anywhere in the eastern United States). Jo Hayes is easy to reach, and in cold weather, it is also a comfort to be able to retreat into my car for a little bit of warmth.

There is something about seeing an eagle in flight that no other bird can match. Whereas other hawks can be buffeted by the wind, eagles approach effortlessly, soaring at their own pace. Even from a distance, as below, nothing quite matches the elegance of an eagle.
Golden eagle far away
Following is not one of my better photos but it gives a good idea of the 6- to 7-foot (1-meter) wingspan of a golden eagle.

Golden eagle
  Generally, in traveling long distances, eagles soar. One doesn't see much if any flapping. This is either a partial beat or a slight redirection.
Golden eagle from below
  From another day and a bright blue sky, I took a series of photos of an immature golden eagle approaching and passing. Here the brilliant sun washed out the gold above the eagle's neck.
Immature golden eagle

This is a second view of the same golden eagle. Again, the lighter back-of-neck color is washed out, but it is a fairly sharp image.
Immature golden eagle

The only disadvantage of eagle watching is that it tends to become habit-forming; however, nothing else matches the experience.

Photo note: I used a Pentax *ist D, with the SMC 1000mm reflex lens during November 2007 for the eagle photos.

My Pennsylvania bird list

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