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Bald Eagles in Brackendale

Immature in flight - 2013 © Christopher Martin

Canon 5DIII + 500mm f/4 lens and 1.4X extender:  1/1000 of a second at f/6.3 on ISO 3200

I was in Brackendale, just north of Squamish, for a couple of days in December.  Every year thousands of Bald Eagles congregate in this area along the banks of the Squamish River.  There are three separate salmon spawning runs that overlap between November and February that result in dead and dying salmon littering the rocky shoreline.  The easy dining is a draw for eagles, seagulls as well as the occasional otter and seal (which in turn are quite the draw for photographers as it turns out!)  I was there for the Bald Eagles and was not disappointed in any way.  The first day was spent along the berm, that serves as a main viewing point, a bit further upriver in an eddy where a particularly cool eagle was hanging out.

Walking this way - 2013 © Christopher Martin-33612Canon 5DIII + 500mm f/4 lens and 1.4X extender:  1/1000 of a second at f/6.3 on ISO 3200

I will do a separate post from the second day when the snow fell and I was out on a birdwatching float down the river.  For now, these images are from the first day where the overcast skies allowed for open shadows and allowed the texture and detail in the eagle plumage to be seen.   It was pretty dark at times as you can tell by the ISO settings I was using but it was a great day filled with eagles coming and going.

River Flight - 2013 © Christopher Martin-31222Canon 5DIII + 500mm f/4 lens and 1.4X extender:  1/1000 of a second at f/5.6 on ISO 4000

There are so many fish that serious fights appear to be rare but eagles are opportunistic so there are still skirmishes where one will try to chase off another who has already gone through the effort of retrieving a salmon out of the water.

Eagle Battle - 2013 © Christopher Martin-31552

Canon 5DIII + 500mm f/4 lens and 1.4X extender:  1/1000 of a second at f/6.3 on ISO 4000

Others preferred a little more distance from their brethren.  This eagle hung out on a perch in the middle of a pond-like eddy off the river. At one point it called out but it didn’t fly over to the scattered groups of eagles in the trees across the water nor did any of them come over to visit.

Eagle eye - 2013 © Christopher Martin-34812Canon 5DIII + 500mm f/4 lens:  1/800 of a second at f/4.5 on ISO 1600

2013 © Christopher MartinCanon 5DIII + 500mm f/4 lens:  1/1000 of a second at f/6.3 on ISO 2000

It splashed around in the shallow water for a while, stopping to snack for a minute, but seemed to return to this stick as its preferred resting spot.

Fish hunting - 2013 © Christopher MartinCanon 5DIII + 500mm f/4 lens:  1/1600 of a second at f/4 on ISO 1600

Brackendale Buffet - 2013 © Christopher MartinCanon 5DIII + 500mm f/4 lens:  1/1600 of a second at f/4 on ISO 1000

Direct stare - 2013 © Christopher MartinCanon 5DIII + 500mm f/4 lens:  1/2000 of a second at f/4 on ISO 800

Eagle Portrait - 2013 © Christopher MartinCanon 5DIII + 500mm f/4 lens:  1/2000 of a second at f/4 on ISO 1600

I never tired of watching these eagles flying.  I think they are one of the most beautiful birds to watch in flight.  It was a great day on BC’s west coast.

Low Altitude - 2013 © Christopher MartinCanon 5DIII + 500mm f/4 lens and 1.4X extender:  1/1000 of a second at f/6.3 on ISO 3200

Flying downriver - 2013 © Christopher MartinCanon 5DIII + 500mm f/4 lens:  1/1000 of a second at f/4 on ISO 3200

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13 responses

  1. Fantastic pictures. Thank you.

    January 27, 2014 at 8:46 pm

  2. Tell the truth, Chris. The ONLY way you could get eagles to cooperate with such great poses is if you are an “Eagle Whisperer”!

    January 14, 2014 at 9:43 am

    • Hi John. Thanks for having a look through and for commenting. Honestly, there are so many eagles in Brackendale that patience is the biggest key to see interesting or unusual poses. They own the skies, the trees, the shore and just about everywhere else. I enjoy sitting and watching just about anywhere I go so that paid off pretty well there.

      January 14, 2014 at 9:53 am

  3. A beautiful gallery of photos of such a majestic bird.

    January 9, 2014 at 3:24 pm

  4. Dianne Fergstad

    These eagles are beautiful you become mesmerized and cannot
    look away!

    January 3, 2014 at 11:31 am

  5. Reblogged this on 4 lastday, & the day of judgment and commented:
    beauty fly, i like.

    January 3, 2014 at 1:02 am

  6. Interesting moments in the life of these great birds . Brilliant work .Thank you for sharing .
    Wondering if Exif data are available here in WordPress,

    January 2, 2014 at 11:34 pm

  7. Would be a great place to visit..wonderful captures, some truly unique ones.

    January 2, 2014 at 9:34 pm

  8. klasse! lg Alois.

    January 2, 2014 at 9:33 pm

  9. Great example of professional photos done right. Well done
    Gerry

    January 2, 2014 at 7:26 pm

  10. Sue

    Love it!

    January 2, 2014 at 4:31 pm

  11. Magnificent!

    January 2, 2014 at 3:33 pm

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