Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Bald Eagles Cartwheeling at Blackwater National Wlidlife Refuge 2/10/2007

Eagles cartwheeling animation:

The full dance.

Some comments I made on the flickr photo

@ drewbilizer! I know, I know! (I wish they were sharper/more in focus)

These were all shot hand-held, through my car's sunroof, and I was goofy just trying to get them in view of the camera...

Next time I will have higher ISO, and be more ready. If that's possible...

These shots came out much better:
Double Eagle (1) @ Blackwater NWR, MD

The thing I learned regarding photographing this behavior: Panning doesn't work when the subject is SPINNING!!!

Thanks so much everyone. It was awesome to see, and I'm glad to share it.

@planephotoman - I was shooting with a 400mm lens, and if you shot birds of this size with a 400 you know that at a certain distance it's not worth taking the pix, or more than a couple. These two were a bit closer then that when they started their cartwheeling. Maybe they were 300 feet up? 400? And when they let go I'd say they were 100 feet above the ground, and a 150 feet away from my spot on the ground.

I got to see, probably this pair exclusively, lock up 4 times! Once I thought that a bird landed in the marsh after letting go. I actually thought both might have hit the ground, but when only one flew up from the ground, I scratched my head, and I was sort of lost in the moment for that sequence, and didn't get much in the way of photos.

I've only ever seen this cartwheeling behavior about 4 other times all at Conowingo Dam. The one sort of ok shot of it from then and there is this one:

Best Friends Forever - Cartwheeling / Whirling Eagles @ Susquehanna River, Maryland

Like I said on my first photo posted from this Saturday, I set my alarm clock for 4am, and woke up at 3:30am. I was that psyched to go, and it was so worth it. Just excellent.