Bald Eagle on the edge of the Prairie in evening light

My uncle had a picnic on Saturday afternoon in the Crowsnest Pass southwest of Calgary by about 2 1/2 hours.  We drove down with the kids enjoying the ride.  After playing hard with their cousins for the afternoon, both Kian and Kezia fell asleep before we got started on the drive back home at 6pm.  Left with a quiet vehicle and a beautiful summer evening, Bobbi and I had a great drive home.  The highlight came in the Turner Valley near Chain Lakes Provincial Park where there was a hawk circling above or perched on a fence post every mile or two.  We identified Red-tailed, Rough-legged and Swainson’s hawks before spying this Bald Eagle.

We pulled over and then both spent the next half an hour photographing this bird.  It was not intimidated by us and while Bobbi stayed by the van, I slowly walked closer until my 300mm lens was too big – less than 25′ from its perch.

As the sun dropped behind some clouds, the eagle leapt up and spun away down towards the lakes.  A fitting end to a wonderful encounter.

13 responses

  1. elmediat

    Absolutely superb, both the shots & the subject.

    September 8, 2011 at 3:51 pm

  2. Agnès KAINZ

    toujours aussi plaisant à regarder, merci!

    August 31, 2011 at 12:01 am

  3. I’ve been watching a family of Swainson’s Hawks that live near us. They sit on the hay bales across the road, and will let me get quite close, which is apparently a trait of these types of hawks. Unfortunately I don’t have a lens on my camera that lets me take pictures like yours! Wonderful!

    August 30, 2011 at 9:25 am

    • Hi Margie,

      What a treat for you to be able to watch the hawks through the summer. Hopefully you can get close enough that any lens will fill the frame. Enjoy!

      August 30, 2011 at 10:18 am

  4. nicely found and captured.. I’ve spent countless hours this summer driving around looking for raptors.. I’m starting to think I’m driving in the wrong places 😉 Started following your blog earlier this spring when you had posted some bald eagle shots.

    August 30, 2011 at 9:10 am

    • Hi Brad,

      Thanks for commenting and for keeping tabs on the blog. You have a very nice series of galleries on your Smug Mug site – particularly like your long exposure water themed landscape images. If you are still intent on finding raptors, check out Highway 8 between Bragg Creek and Calgary in the evening in the last couple of hours before sunset. The roads around the Springbank airport rarely disappoint in the mornings and evenings. If you are on the east side of Calgary, the rural roads out all the way to Brooks are fantastic – again in the evening. I’ve had good luck around Bearspaw and up towards Airdrie on the back roads as well. When you do find them, let me know, I’d love to see the images.

      August 30, 2011 at 10:24 am

      • Thanks for your kind comments regarding my photos.

        September 1, 2011 at 11:01 pm

  5. What a great series of photos! I love seeing the eagle’s glassy eyes. Amazing that you were able to get close to him!

    August 30, 2011 at 7:48 am

  6. A shockingly magnificent creature and so well captured here.Beautiful

    August 30, 2011 at 3:14 am

  7. You are so lucky to have such birds to photograph. Very nice images.

    August 30, 2011 at 2:09 am

    • I couldn’t agree more Mike. I don’t take the place I live for granted – it is fantastic.

      August 30, 2011 at 10:26 am

  8. Excellent Photos !! Loved all of them 😀

    August 30, 2011 at 1:08 am

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