The above three absolutely amazing photographs are not mine. Joy gets 100% credit for both of them. And thank you Joy, for allowing me to use them today.
Joy took these shots while we were hiking last Thursday. And you know how I said that all of our hikes end up having some sort of theme? Well, the theme this time is, "The Shots I did Not Get but Thank Goodness Joy Did!". These are three of them.
When we arrived at Oscar Scherer Park that morning, the nice Ranger at the gate who we've sort of gotten to know a bit, was kind enough to tell us that there was an Eagle nest with two babies in it on the Red Trail hike. He went so far as to show us on a map exactly where it was. We didn't arrive at the park with any particular hike planned so why not go for it!
We headed down the Red Trail, snapping shots and chatting as we always do. It took awhile to get there but it was unmistakable when we arrived. The tree, the nest, the eagles...yeah, kind of hard to miss.
The Rangers put up barriers so you can only get so close, but still, there they were. Right There. Wow!
There was a couple already there, the husband with his camera and the wife sitting patiently waiting for him to get his fill of pictures, and we greeting each one another pleasantly. As it turns out they were newly arrived from Pennsylvania.
In the beginning, I tried. I tried so hard to get those shots but A) I just haven't gotten the hang of tracking a moving target with the camera yet and B) my camera just couldn't get the close ups necessary from that distance. So my pictures ended up being blurry blobs of mystery or empty sky and eventually, I get frustrated and I need to step away. So I put the lens cap back on my camera and sat, chatting happily with the wife while Joy and the husband talked cameras and photos and took many, many MANY great pictures of the Eagle Family.
As it turns out Eagles are particularly fascinating birds. For instance, I didn't know that there were more than 60 different types of Eagles found around the world. Their eyesight is more than 3 times better than the best human vision (hence the term Eagle-Eyed). Eagles are the top of the birdie food chain. The Kings and Queens of Bird-dom as it were. Generally they lay two eggs at a time and it's not uncommon for the larger of the two juveniles to kill the smaller one. (ewwww! Talk about sibling rivalry!) A young eagle is generally ready to head out on his or her own at 8 weeks of age and the average life span is about 20 years although older ones have been noted. Just a few examples of eagle facts! (The things you learn here)
Well it was hard to walk away from the eagles. Although it was also hard to see that parent eagle hauling some other creature to it's nest for food. Yes, Yes, Yes...I know it's just nature. I am aware. But I am tender hearted and while I can acknowledge that sometimes nature is beautiful, I also realize that sometimes it is grim and I have no interesting in witnessing the grim bits.
And so we walked on. It was a lovely varied environment trail: some wet areas, some dry, some shady, other's sunny. That's the best sort of hike. I think the entire photo safari was only about 3 miles or so but we took our time and got lots of other photos. I seemed to have gotten a lot of tree and tree-related pictures that day. Not sure what that was all about. Here are some of my tree kinds of photos:
And of course I took photos of other things too:
It was another truly wonderful day. I'm so annoyed that not one single Eagle photo of mine came out, but I'm so happy that Joy's did. AND that she was kind enough to share them with me so that I could share them with you.
I have GOT to work on my tracking shots. Dragon flies and birds just move too fast for me. Maybe I'll start with turtles.
Yup, this is me. Some people said, "Sam, you should write a Blog". "Well, there's a thought", I thought to myself. And so here it is.