Playing ‘Hot Potato’

I had a really great photo workshop with the wintering Bald Eagles on the Mississippi River last week. It was a small group photo workshop with 3 participants and myself. We were graced with a large showing of Bald Eagles, as well as large numbers of Common Mergansers, a few Mallards, and a lone American White Pelican (last year, when I conducted an exploratory trip to the area, a single pelican showed up then, too).

Over the next few posts, I’ll share some of my images of the Bald Eagles, the ducks and the pelican. And once the participants send me some of their favorite images they captured, I’ll publish a “participant’s post” of their images.

Today’s post includes some images captured during one of the common behaviors seen with wintering Bald Eagles … pirating a fish from another eagle. Here is a sequence I captured on the first morning of the 3-day workshop. Shortly after catching a fish in the river, the bald eagle flies off to find a tree to eat his catch, but a second bald eagle flies in and chases him:

Bald Eagles fighting over a fish

Within a few brief moments, the eagle drops the fish and the fish begins it’s free-fall back to the river:

Bald Eagles fighting over a fish

Bald Eagles fighting over a fish

Bald Eagles fighting over a fish

Bald Eagles fighting over a fish

Bald Eagles fighting over a fish

Meanwhile, a third, observant bald eagle swoops down, picks up the fish, and carries it off:

Bald Eagle picks up a dropped fish and flies off

Bald Eagle picks up a dropped fish and flies off

I’m always amazed at the amount of piracy that wintering bald eagles get involved in. Guess it’s a bit easier taking a fish away from another eagle, than catching your own!

I’ll be posting more images captured during the workshop, over the next few days. You might have noticed the steam rising from some of the above images. The temperature that day was quite cold, ca. 3F-5F, and with the north wind, we were experiencing a wind chill of -24F (brrrrrrrrrrrr!). I’ll share some more steamy landscapes over the next few days, as well.

Photographic Equipment Used:

  • Canon 7D Mark II body
  • Canon EF 100-400mm, f/4.5-f/5.6 IS lens
  • Handheld, with IS “On”
  • ISO 3200
  • Aperture f/14 to f/16 (shot in Tv mode to assure action was captured cleanly)
  • Shutter 1/1600 sec. (shot in Tv mode to assure action was captured cleanly)

 

 

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Posted in 2016, Bird Photography, Birds, Blog, Nature Photography, Photography Workshop, Travel Photography
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