Friday was one of my best photo days ever! Bald eagles were congregated on Lake Mille Lacs eagerly waiting for the ice to go out, and they were in rare form ---almost playful it seemed to me.
In the first photo they were scrapping over a fish skeleton. This went on for over an hour, with one eagle taking it and the rest trying to take it back.
My fingers were freezing and my face got wind burned, but it was so worth it. I see eagles often, and I have watched them do barrel rolls and pluck fish from our lake, but I had never seen anything like this. Nor had I ever seen so many together in one group before. I counted seventeen eagles in the first group I shot, with six being adults and the rest juveniles. The young ones were the most active and scrappy, but the adults joined in too.
After a long while, a few of the juvenile eagles decided to go terrorize some Trumpeter Swans.
At first I thought they might actually attack them, and it seems the swans thought so too.
But alas, the eagles backed down, and eventually these three eagles decided to take a rest mere feet from the swans and the swans didn't seem to mind.
I was shooting in less than ideal circumstances, with strong winds, overcast skies, occasional stinging snowflakes, and in sub freezing temperatures. I was also shooting long range, so I really didn't know how well these photos would turn out, but honestly, even if they hadn't turned out at all, I would still have been grateful to have witnessed such magnificent spectacles. Needless to say, I am thrilled I got some good shots after all.
Later in the day the sun came out and I found another group of eagles. There were four eagles in the next group that came and went as I was shooting. It was of these eagles that I got most of my best shots.
The lighting was superb, and I was able to get a lot closer to this group.
Altogether I took 1103 photographs of the eagles that day. I haven't even looked at them all yet, but most of them seem to be keepers, so I will have a lot more to share at another time. This was a once in a lifetime photo day, and I am so happy I get to share it with everyone.