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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

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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.

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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.

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

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

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

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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!!

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The Aurora Borealis put on a fabulous show last night about midnight.  I was lucky enough to catch it but can’t decide which shot I like best.  I like them all for different reasons, but this is Photo #1 in the line-up, once the Aurora began her dance.

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She was already making herself known when I arrived and I caught a shooting star as I set up my composition and camera settings.

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And then she danced!  Just after midnight, behind my town of White Salmon the party started.  Photo #2.

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It was chilly and dark and difficult to manage at first, but with each check of my camera’s LCD my excitement grew.  Photo #3.

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While my eye saw a dark clear sky filled with stars, Aurora continued showing herself on the back of my camera.  Photo #4.

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My eyes could only see what looked like a whitish cloud or fog on the horizon line where you see a greenish glow; and I could see columns of ‘mist’ rising from that.  Photo #5.

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If it were a stronger Aurora, I might have actually seen the color my camera displayed.  Photo #6.

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The wind was blowing clouds overhead so I knew my time was limited.  Photo #7.

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As Aurora danced in the Columbia River Gorge, so did I ~ to keep warm!  And I drank coffee to stay awake.  Photo #8.

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My day started at 6 a.m., so this midnight hour was hard to keep.  Photo #9.

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The cold, the coffee and my excitement kept me shooting, dancing and laughing with delight!  Photo #10.

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I need your help!  ……  Photo #11.

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I need you to help me decide which of these images to print!  Photo #12.

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You can vote for your favorite simply by commenting which numbered photo you like best.  Photo #13.

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As you can see, they’re all numbered: #1 – 16 ~ plus the Shooting Star shot.  Photo #14.

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What a magical night it was!!  Only lasted for about an hour.  Photo #15.

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Just after 1 a.m. the clouds rolled in and covered the Aurora.  Otherwise, I’d still be there.  Photo #16.

Please let me know your favorite ~ in a comment here, via private message on Facebook, or via email ~ linda at steider studios dot com (all one word).

Art White Salmon Fall Tour

October 21, 2015

Steider Studios.Dragonfly.8.26.15This image of a dragonfly I caught at Bingen Marina just arrived along with the following images, in time for the Art White Salmon Fall Tour.  A self-guided walking tour of artist studios and a Pop-up gallery downtown White Salmon this weekend, October 23, 24, 25.

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Our tour hours are 11am until 5pm each day and I’ll be in the Pop-up Gallery on the corner of Jewett and Estes.  I caught this otter on ice last winter at Lost Lake and have a couple views of him.

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I’ll have many of my Columbia River Gorge sunset images on cards and in print….

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…and a few Columbia Gorge sunrise images.  You know it’s easier to catch the sun going down than the sun coming up, right?

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I’ll have all occasion greeting cards and small 5 x 7 prints that include my wildlife shots ….

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… and many of my favorite bird images on cards and printed on metal.

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And of course I’ll have some glass.

AWS New listing and map

Come see me and the other White Salmon artists!! October 23, 24, 25 from 11am until 5pm all three days.  I’m #4 on the map, corner of Estes and Jewett in the Pop-up Gallery!!  See you there!! 

Woman Working in the Woods

September 19, 2015

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I left you hanging at the end of my last chapter in my Forest Project.   I finished the ‘Slash Pile Burn‘ part of it earlier this year, and have slowly brought firewood up to the house all summer.  I tried to haul 10 wagonloads per day up to the house, but pretty much stopped everything when working in the woods became a fire hazard.

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Today I revved up my chain saw & commenced slicing all the longer branches. According to my DNR rep I can use it until 1pm.  In the heat of the day with risk of fire too great, I have plenty of other tasks.  The photo above is my make-shift holder for little branches where I sawed 4 to 5 at a time.  Cute little pile, isn’t it?  The previous photo shows a cool tool that holds a branch while sawing, but it only holds one at a time.  It’s a bit cumbersome to put the saw down while I reload.

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When 1:00 rolls around, I turn off the saw and fill my wagon.

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…and split some larger rounds.  Yep, I learned how to split wood this summer!

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I may not get all these branches finished this year, but will do my best.

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There are a couple of logs still lying around that I’ll tackle after I’m more adept at sawing.  I’ll have to saw them in place since I can’t even roll, much less lift these up to any tool or make-shift holders!

Steider Studios.Wood Project.9.19.15The best news of the day is my neighbor, inspired by my project cleared HIS property.  This makes it possible for me to get a truck down to the bottom of my property!  Yay, instead of hauling my little wagon uphill, I’m now hauling it a short distance downhill to the truck.  Truck gets loaded & I simply drive out ~ YAY!!  Of course, then I have to unload the truck and stack it, but that’s a story for another day.

 

I Saw a Black Bear!

July 29, 2015

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I’ve had several fun adventures lately, but today I have to share how fun my own ‘back yard’ is.  I knew I was going to have a great hike when a Northern Flicker landed right in front of me as I headed out!

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Meandering along the path I noted it was fairly quiet ~ yesterday the forest was filled with the sound of woodpeckers…..

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….and little Tree Sparrows chatting to each other,

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parents still bringing food to babes.

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I was also thrilled when a Clark’s Nutcracker flew into a pine tree on the bluff ~ I watched him as long as he let me.

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Today when I arrived at my destination I watched a flock of Lazuli Buntings!

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It was amazing to see them here.  Staying in the shadows, I crept closer hoping to get a better shot.

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My dog, usually passive by my side while I photograph suddenly alerted.  She didn’t bark but was insistent, so I tried to see what she was so intent on.  Suddenly a black bear slowly ran behind the trees about 25 feet away.  I froze, my heart pounding with a bit of fear, but I was thrilled and awe-struck.  The sun made his fur glisten and I thought about lifting my camera, but I didn’t want to miss a second of watching him.  If I had, the above is what it would probably look like!

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I have NEVER been more alert on my way home from a hike.  Yesterday I leisurely hiked home stopping for this bee, but not today…..

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Back home an abundance of sweet little fledglings take advantage of my bird bath.  American Goldfinch siblings above.

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Black-headed Grosbeak just out of the bath.

Sweet, serene, and fun to watch.  Did I say I saw A BEAR today?  I DID!!  I am giddy with excitement that I saw him!!

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I knew there wasn’t much of a chance, but I had to try anyway.  Practicing for the next Aurora is what I’m calling last night’s little adventure!  Since my first exposure to Aurora photography, I’ve been waiting for another opportunity!

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I only saw city lights behind Mt Adams (or was it the last of sunset at midnight?) and gorgeous stars in the night sky.  I’m glad I went because I did get a better understanding of how to photograph in the dark at night.  Still not great at it, but practice makes perfect!!

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Bonus, I get to sleep in when I’m out photographing at night!!

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