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3.23.17  I’ve watched this Bald Eagle’s nest for at least five years, intermittently photographing the family.  This year I decided to photo-document every 4 to 5 days, (then 2 to 3 days, then every other day as the eaglet grew closer to fledging) to see and share the progress with you.  In addition to our national emblem, the Bald Eagle is a spiritual symbol for our native people.

After my first shots of the eagle nesting I headed out to see how fast and furious the spring waterfalls were flowing here in the Gorge.

4.9.17  Mom’s still on the nest.  Bald Eagles mate for life and this pair return to the same nest each year.  Another resident pair of Bald Eagles on the Oregon side of the Columbia also return to their nest each year.  Both parents share nest duty, but the female has the larger share while the male hunts or fishes.

4.16.17  A gorgeous sunrise over Mt Adams on my way down to the Bald Eagle nest.

As I arrive, Mom is on the nest.  As with most raptors, the female is larger than the male.

After a little while, Mom begins calling for Dad…Dad arrives and immediately starts calling for Mom!  At one point they were in the nest together, which makes it easier to tell who is who.

Dad left shortly before Mom flew back into the nest.  She settled in and I quietly crept away, delighted to see the family interaction.  This is a nest I hike to, down a steep hillside and heavily trafficked road.

4.23.17   A breezy morning, my view of the nest is constantly hidden by foliage on nearby trees.  Bald Eagles can live long lives ~ the longest known eagle in the wild was over 38 years when it was struck by a car and died.

Not sure which parent is in the nest and which is on the branch.  They must be side by side for me to tell them apart at this stage of my Eagle Education.  The white head indicates they are at least 5 years old.

4.25.17  Parent is still incubating in this huge nest.  Bald Eagles build nests that are typically 5 to 6 feet wide and 2 to 4 feet deep.

4.28.17  The Bald Eagle parent sits at the side of the nest today instead of incubating, so a chick probably hatched between 4.25 and 4.28.17

4.30.17  Dad is waiting for Mom to come home so he can go fishing.  They typically eat fish, but will also consume birds, reptiles, amphibians, and small to medium mammals.

Mom’s home! They’re not quite side by side but you can see Mom in the back is slightly larger than Dad.

Dad takes off to do a little fishing for the family.

Isn’t he Gorgeous!

Mom ‘rearranges furniture’.  When they build a nest, both mates bring sticks (and branches!), and grass, moss, and soft plant material to line the nest, but the female does most of the arranging.

She ruffles her feathers…..

…then tends to her chick.  The chick in the nest that I still can’t see….

5.4.17   This morning I arrive in time to hear one parent calling to the other…and look closer!

We have an EAGLET!!  Isn’t he adorable?  He’s now called a ‘nestling’ and will remain so for 56 to 98 days.

5.11.17   A rainy day, one parent perches above the nest while the other parent works to feed the family.

Little Eaglet is already losing his white downy fuzz.

5.15.17  Today I arrive in time for breakfast.  Mom brought in a fish earlier for the youngster.

Looks like a tasty bite of salmon.

Mom also gets a little nourishment.

I personify, and emotionally attach myself to this family.  And wouldn’t you agree this is a tender beautiful moment.

Mom hires me to take a parent and eaglet portrait

5.19.17   A hot sultry day, everyone is trying to stay cool under the hot sun including me.

5.23.17   I’m invited to another meal at the Eagle Nest.

5.28.17   Even though I began the previous day at 4am I chose to stay up for the Aurora Borealis prediction.  If my eyelids could have stayed open another 5 minutes I would show you pillars and waves but alas I needed sleep so headed home for a couple of hours sleep before checking on the eaglet.

Steller’s Jays harass the eagle family today and swallows often fly around the nest.

Little Eaglet stretches his wings as Mom perches above the nest and Dad perches below.

5.30.17  Eaglet is on the other side of Mom on this windy day, probably just lying low.  I always worry about the eaglet falling out of the tree-top nest; it has happened in the past.

6.3.17  Little Eaglet is home alone today!  

I watch him preen his beautiful feathers.  He’ll remain dark for his first year and will keep that dark beak and dark eyes.

6.8.17  I can barely see the eaglet hunkered down in his nest as a parent perches on a branch above.  We have a cold, rainy day in the Gorge and I would hunker down too if I were home.

6.11.17   I went down to the Eagle nest early in the evening for better light and found him stretching his wings and jumping in his nest.  I’ve seen this action before and it’s fun to watch a raptor learn how to fly…I equate it with kids jumping on the bed.  Eventually wind will catch his wings and lift him up off the nest.

He dances around the nest for half an hour, then settles for a minute and dances again.

He’s still very young and won’t be ready to fly for a few more weeks…..

….but what do I know…look at him go, it could be any day!

 6.13.17  Each day his wings are stronger and I’m happy to arrive during his dance sessions.

He has more oomph in his efforts…

…until he finally has lift-off, and jumps higher.

6.15.17  Another gray Gorge day, the Eaglet lays so low in his nest I can barely see him.  For a moment I thought he fledged without me!

6.17.17   A beautiful day in the Columbia River Gorge!

I went back to the Eagle nest near sunset hoping for more great light.  Evening is so much better than morning light for this nest!

Little Eaglet practicing flight techniques as I arrive….I can feel the power in his wings growing.

And he’s learning to master the wind!

He is incredible to watch, I could stand here for hours on end.

As the sun goes down the eaglet lays down to rest.

All evening I’d heard his parents calling from above and finally caught a glimpse of one.

6.22.17   Another early start, looking west down the gorge on my ‘commute to work’.

Little Eaglet is my last stop of the day and I watch him as he looks out over the Columbia River.

The late afternoon light is lovely today as he practices his flight techniques.

He looks so determined in this shot like he’s going to jump right off that nest and into flight.  He’s getting so close to the edge of the nest lately that some of the nest material is spilling out.

6.23.17  Little Eaglet looks almost as large as his parents.

6.24.17  I check the nest frequently now because it feels like the eaglet will fledge any day.

He continues to practice his flight skills.

6.26.17  Just chillin’.

6.27.17   A windy day, his feathers need some preening to put them back in place.

6.29.17   It’s always amazing to watch the family dynamics of the Bald Eagles at meal times.

Dad arrives home with breakfast.

Little Eaglet with head down and shoulders hunched politely waits his turn to eat.

Mom and Dad converse….

Dad takes off and Mom finally says it’s ok for Junior to eat.

7.1.17  Little Eaglet is resting on another windy afternoon.  I hope he navigates his way through a long life.  The most common causes for Bald Eagles’ deaths are electrocution from power lines, trauma from impact with cars or buildings, and poisoning from lead bullets or chemical pollutants.

7.2.17   Little Eaglet jumps higher and higher in his nest.

He lands with a firm touch-down.

And then propels himself higher than ever!  Are you ready to fly little guy??!!

A parent flies in with breakfast…

…which makes him focus on eating instead of jumping.

Right after breakfast, Little Eaglet goes back to jumping in the nest!  He is SO READY TO FLY!!

7.4.17  After another jumping session this morning, Little Eaglet jumps high and steers himself to the perch above his nest.

His parents have tried to lure him there by calling to him from the perch, then flying off either to fish or to the perch where Dad sits.

He kind of skitters and clumsily lands it, but he has officially fledged.

And here he sits!  A Fledgling!!

I saw him there again a couple of days later; then not again for several days.  The last time I saw him he was back in his nest eating a fish that I hope he caught himself.  On subsequent visits Little Eaglet wasn’t home.  His parents will be back to rebuild this nest next year and this winter we’ll host hundreds of migrating eagles on the Columbia River.

For more about Bald Eagles check out  National Wildlife Federation, Audubon, Cornell’s All About Birds, and Wildlife Society Bulletin

The introductory post in this series where you’ll find links to my other nests as I post them is Empty Nest

 

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A Month Without Internet

January 10, 2016

Steider Studios.Snow Day.12.17.15

Yes.  A month without internet.  Could you do without online communication, shopping, banking, game playing, and more for a month?  I decided I couldn’t, so am sitting in a warm cheery wi-fi cafe in Hood River checking up on all the above.

Steider Studios.Snow Day.12.17.15-7

It started with a snow storm.  Then an ice storm.  Then more snow & more ice.  Eventually after only a few days the snowy, ice-encrusted trees completely blocked my line of sight to the internet tower on Underwood Mountain.  When will the ice melt?  March?

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I’m not waiting.  I ordered a new service, but alas the installer has left for vacation and won’t be back for another two weeks.  So, until then, I’ve cleaned out closets.  I’ve gone through reams of old paperwork from my business; and design ideas stacked in my studio.

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I’ve shoveled my deck countless times and romped in the snow with my dog.

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I’ve watched my icicles grow and fade and grow again.

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I’ve checked on my trees to see how much longer the ice might remain.  Looks like forever to me!

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I’ve played with bubbles in the snow and ice….

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…on more than one occasion!

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One day the sun even came out, but the temperature didn’t rise above 30º.

Steider Studios.Sunset.12.31.15

I can sometimes see the sunset glow outside our constant inversion.

Steider Studios.Northern Goshawk.1.5.16

One snowy day a Northern Goshawk landed on the snag below my deck!

Steider Studios.Northern Goshawk.1.5.16-3

He didn’t stay long, but I was glad to witness his presence in my neighborhood!

Steider Studios.Rowland to Bingen.12.30.15-5

I’ve come into town every couple of days to keep up with my email but also to watch for eagles since it is the season.  This pair was right off Hwy 14 between Lyle and Bingen.

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A couple of occasions I was able to watch eagles chase each other and fight over food.

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I saw other raptors like this little Kestrel and a Peregrine Falcon!

Steider Studios.Raptors.12.27.15-10 I even saw a Northern Harrier at Bingen Marina for the first time.  I usually see them in more open spaces.

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Each adventure down my mountain first involves a hike up to the road where our cars are kept.

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And a hike back down at the end of the day.

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In between, it’s a 30 minute drive down to the river, and when I arrive, it’s Raptor Heaven.

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I think this guy pretty much sums it up.  I want my internet!!

In case I don’t have another opportunity to sit in a cafe for this long, I’ll catch up with you again at the end of the month when I’m ‘connected’ again.  I hope!!

Steider Studios.Prairie Falcon.11.20.15

I signed on for a route in Audubon’s Winter Raptor Survey.  My route is basically along Hwy 14 between Bingen and Dallesport along the Columbia River.  The first run yielded my first ever sighting of a Prairie Falcon!!

Steider Studios.Red Tail Hawk.11.20.15

I expected to find Red-tailed Hawks, and did find six of them.

Steider Studios.Eagle Group.11.20.15

Non resident Eagles are returning to the Gorge ~ I found these four in one snag and six more along the river.

Steider Studios.American Kestrel

 

I also counted three American Kestrels, but not close enough for a good shot.  This shot is from Sauvie Island in January.

Steider Studios.Klickitat River.11.21.15

The following day broke with a beautiful clear blue sky so I followed my route hoping to recreate my photos with better light and composition.  Alas I saw no eagles, but the Klickitat River was gorgeous.

Steider Studios.Northern Shrike.11.21.15And on a little side trip I found a Northern Shrike across the road from the entrance to Balfour Park!  Told this is a rare sighting, I ‘penned’ my first entry into ebird.org.  He is a hatch-year (1st winter ~ thanks to my friend Cathy for that info!)

Steider Studios.Goldfinch Trio.11.21.15I also found a huge flock of Lesser Goldfinches in their ‘pantry’, a field of weeds.

Steider Studios.Goldfinch.11.21.15

I love these little birds and couldn’t believe how close they allowed me to get.  This is a male Lesser Goldfinch.

Steider Studios.Lewis's Woodpecker.11.18.15

The day before my route I’d gone looking for eagles with my friend Carolyn.  Although we didn’t see eagles that day, we found tons of Lewis’s Woodpeckers, one of my favorites!!

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We watched a heron fishing on ‘golden pond’ from afar.

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A Cormorant flew by pretty close!

Steider Studios.Ruby-crowned Kinglet.11.18.15

And we saw a lot of Ruby-crowned Kinglets!  See his Ruby Crown?!!

Steider Studios.Ruby-crowned Kinglet.11.18.15

He’s a bit blurred, too fast for me to keep up with his movement, but I wanted to show you his front too!

Steider Studios.Oak Leaves.Balfour.11.18.15

In spite of only finding Bald eagles on my official ‘Raptor Count Day’, we saw many beautiful birds including a Kingfisher, Wood Ducks, Robins, and Meadowlarks.  It’s always a good day driving through the Gorge.

Steider Studios.Lost Lake.1.26.15

January has been crazy busy driving up and down the Columbia River chasing Eagles and Herons with an occasional foray to Conboy and Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuges.  Today I drove above the cloud/haze/inversion to grab some vitamin D in the form of SUNSHINE at Lost Lake!

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What a special surprise to capture this lone Otter fishing.  The lake had a layer of ice, so the Otter had to break through the ice to surface with his prize.  In this photo, you can see chunks of ice near his ‘elbow’ as he munches on his catch.

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With each ‘catch’, he climbed onto the ice and ate, then dove back for more.

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Is this a crawfish he’s eating?  It was so quiet on the lake, he didn’t notice us until we went crashing through the brush, trying to keep up with him as he swam away.

Steider Studios.Forest Experimental Motion Blur

I’m making a big effort to really learn my camera better and use it to its fullest potential.  In that light, I had a little fun with some experimental ‘blurred motion’ shots of the gorgeous surrounding forest before we left.

Steider Studios.Bald Eagle Looking at Me.Balfour.1.20.15

The pictures I haven’t shown you between my last post and this one (because I’ve run from one adventure to the next with no stops between) are on my Facebook Page, ‘Steider Studios’.  I try to post a daily photo of what I am lucky to see here in the Gorge, or regionally on the occasions when I leave my mountain top.

Many more fun events are coming up.

Sunday, Feb 1st is the group ‘bird walk’.  We may go to the Maryhill or Columbia Hills area – let me know if you want to join us & I’ll let you know where & when to meet.

Feb 12 – 15 I’ll be in Klamath Falls for Winter Wings Festival, photographing everything I see while I’m there!

Sunday, March 1st is another group bird walk.

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First Friday, March 6th my show, “Fine Feathered Friends” opens at Columbia Arts and runs through March 30th.  Co-curator Robin Panzer and I have put together a fabulous month of events for your enjoyment in addition to 16 artists presenting their artwork!  Many of our artists will demonstrate their process during the month and we’ll have an interactive display on loan from Conboy National Wildlife Refuge.  On Mar 7th come see Raptors, live in the theater at Columbia Arts!  Mar 14 you can paint a birdhouse in the studio.  Mar 21st, enjoy a fashion show of feathery tattoos and a tattoo demonstration.  Mar 28 join us for a short hike up the Hood River stairs into an older neighborhood to see and learn about our resident birds with field biologist, Cathy Flick.

I keep thinking I’ll have plenty of time to tell you everything, but when the sun is out or eagles are flying, or an opportunity for fun presents itself….I’m going out to play!  Maybe I’ll see you out there!!

 

Good Birding Karma

May 23, 2014

Steider Studios:  Barred Owl

I’ve had a fantastic week of birding!  After a very successful weekend at the Wine and Pear Festival, I took off Monday for the Tualatin Hills Nature Park because a friend shared his  photos of a Pileated Woodpecker family!  Thank you again Bob!!

Steider Studios:  Owl Taking Off

A HUGE bonus was my very first sighting of a Barred Owl!  It looked like a big fluffy teddy bear and I was mesmerized.  My friend Nancy and I couldn’t believe our good luck (that we now refer to as good birding karma) with how long he let us watch him.

Steider Studios:  Barred Owl

I went back later in the week hoping to find him again but did not.

Steider Studios:  Pileated Woodpecker Three Babies

Our main event, the Pileated Woodpecker pair and their three babies gave us a wonderful viewing and photograph opportunity.  We met a few other photographers who had also heard about this nest high in a snag towards the center of the park.

Steider Studios:  Pileated Woodpecker Family

We watched for several hours, waiting about 45 minutes between feedings.  I had major lens envy knowing that my new Tamron 150 – 600 mm lens was in transit and I’d have it soon.  But I needed it today!

Steider Studios:  Eagle vs Raven at Rowland Lake

Tuesday I went to Rowland Lake – I ran out the door, camera in hand before my husband finished telling me about the heron family, bald eagle, pair of osprey and more birds that he saw that morning while fishing .  I arrived just in time to see a Bald Eagle being chased by a Raven.

Steider Studios:  Heron at Rowland Lake 5.20.14

I watched two Great Blue Herons fishing at Rowland Lake but did not see the babies.

Steider Studios:  Heron in Flight at Rowland Lake

I love the challenge of capturing any bird in flight and am very happy with this Great Blue Heron.

Steider Studios:  Osprey Above

I watched an Osprey grab a fish that seemed to big for him to carry right in front of me.  Shooting from behind a stand of trees, that photo was too blurry to keep.

Steider Studios:  Eagle in Treetop

The Bald eagle ditched the Raven and perched atop a pine tree for about an hour.  Using my car as a blind I slowly rose up through my moon roof to capture him.   I was still thinking about that new lens I did not have yet, and how much closer I could get if I had it.

Steider Studios:  Pileated Woodpecker with Baby

Wednesday I went back to Tualatin knowing the baby woodpeckers would be leaving their nest any day.  I was hoping to see them fledge.  I was hoping to see the owl again.  Neither happened, but I met more photographers and had a thrilling time watching the feathered family.

Steider Studios:  New lens first photo

Thursday I helped a friend in her garden and when I arrived home, guess what?!!  My NEW LENS ARRIVED!!!  I tore open the box, attached the lens and went out to my garden.  This is my first shot, hand-held (wow is that thing heavy!) with no editing other than sizing.  Not a great photo, but I’m thrilled with the clarity and how much closer I can now photograph birds and wildlife!

Steider Studios:  Chickadees

I ran in, checked the images then ran back out.  I’ve got a pair of Chickadees in the garden – building a nest or feeding babies?  The pair took turns flying into the nest, and I caught this image of the male arriving before the female departed.  I didn’t hear babies chirping so I’m wondering if they’ve hatched at all yet.  I cropped and down-sized this image but didn’t take time for any other edits.  If it were a ‘keeper’, I’d probably lighten it a bit.  I did use my tripod for a series of the chickadees flying in and out.

Tomorrow I’m heading east for a lead on another Pileated Woodpecker nest with babies.  Today I MUST catch up with studio business, household stuff and practice more with my new lens.  Or maybe just practice – can’t the other stuff wait a little longer?!!!

If you’d like to see more of my bird photography I post frequently on my Steider Studios Facebook page.  Many of my images are published into greeting cards, canvas wraps and metal prints available in my Artfire shop and my Zibbet shop.

You can also subscribe to my blog to get an email update each time I post by clicking the box in the column at the right, towards the top of this page.  I can’t wait to show you all the new photos I’m about to take with my new Tamron 150 – 600 zoom lens!!!

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