June 20, 2018 Seabeck, Washington

Juvenile Bald Eagle
Juvenile Bald Eagle

Hood Canal for Bald Eagles

Bald Eagle
Bald Eagle

I visited the Hood Canal in my first year on the road and was absolutely amazed at the number of Bald Eagles gathered here to take advantage of the annual Sculpin spawn amongst the oyster beds here at the mouth of Big Beef Creek in Seabeck.

Bald Eagle
Bald Eagle

Unfortunately that was not the case this year. I was told that the number of eagles gathering here has been diminishing every year and I never saw more than five eagles at any one time over the four days I was here. In 2014 there would be as many as 60 eagles present at any one time, and back then I was told that I was there at a ” bad ” time, since there used to be over 100 gathered there during May and June.

( Since I don’t have any great eagle shots from this visit, you can see some of the eagle shots taken here from 2014 if you visit the following blog posts:

May 19, 2014     and   May 20, 2014  )

Bald Eagle
Attack!

Bald eagle diving down to persuade a heron to drop it’s catch.

Bald Eagle and Great Blue Heron
Bald Eagle and Great Blue Heron

There did seem to be as many Great Blue Herons here as there were in 2014, just not as many eagles, and the herons most likely were quite happy about the reduced number of eagles, so that now they could swallow their fish without the constant threat of theft from the eagles.

Bald Eagle Theft
Bald Eagle Theft

Still, on occassion, an eagle would spot a successful heron catch and swoop in to steal the fish.

Juvenile Bald Eagle Harassing Heron
Juvenile Bald Eagle Harassing Heron
Juvenile Bald Eagle with Sculpin
Juvenile Bald Eagle with Sculpin

You can just see the tail of the sculpin this immature eagle stole from one of the herons.

I again stayed at the Scenic Beach State Park in Seabeck as I did in 2014, but could only get a site for Monday through Thursday as the campground has every site reserved for Friday and Saturday. That happens to be the case for almost every weekend during the summer months, not only here but at pretty much every desirable state park here in the northwest. But since there aren’t any eagles here to photograph anyway, I won’t be disappointed that I have to move on come Friday.

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June 30, 2015 Homer, Alaska

Kachemak Bay Sunrise
Kachemak Bay Sunrise

Another Gloomy Week on the Homer Spit

Although there are brief periods of sun and bits of blue sky now and then, for the most part the skies are constantly gray and gloomy. I understand that this type of weather pattern is quite usual for this area, so what can one do but wait it out. Though the sun seldom appears, it also doesn’t actually rain all that much, no downpours whatsoever, just periods of light rain and drizzle.

I usually maintain a very solitary existence on my travels, but this past week plus I have had the distinct pleasure of being camped next to a delightful retired couple from South Dakota. I have enjoyed more small talk with them than I usually have in the course of several months on the road, and have gotten quite a kick out of watching and hearing about their fishing exploits here in Homer as they have fished for salmon and halibut. A lot of the salmon fishing was done directly in front of our motorhomes, while the halibut fishing was done on a charter where the Mrs. managed to haul in a sixty-two pounder. Had fun teasing him as she also landed the largest King Salmon at the Fishing Hole, down the beach from our campsites, seemed to outfish the man of the house at every opportunity. But today they broke camp and have moved on, and their replacement has definitely not lived up to them as far as great neighbors go, outside, ten feet away slamming doors at midnight and running one of the noisiest generators I have ever heard for hours on end. Oh well, you win some and you lose some.

Bald Eagle
Bald Eagle

You will have to forgive my constant barrage of bald eagle shots but they are about the only interesting subjects i have here on the Homer Spit.

As always, click on any image for a larger, sharper version.

Bald Eagle
Bald Eagle
Coming of Age
Coming of Age

A few interesting facts about bald eagles can be found here, including the fact that they mature at four to five years old, which would make this guy more than likely than not, about four years old.

Immature Bald Eagle
Immature Bald Eagle
Bald Eagle
Bald Eagle

I was walking around the marina and just happened to catch this juvenile as he lifted off. I haven’t really tried doing any flight shots of these guys here because of the constant mist and drizzle, but if it ever clears up, I may just set up my tripod and long lens right outside my door and try to get some images of the eagles as they fly by all day , and night, long.

Hills Above Homer
Hills Above Homer

Searching for Fireweed

The green fields such as in the image above will be turning pink sometime in the weeks ahead as the fireweed finally comes into bloom. I have been driving all the hillside roads above Homer and north all the way to Anchor Point hoping to find some fireweed patches blooming, but I’m beginning to feel it just isn’t going to happen while I am here. The flower stalks have been starting to form here and there, but I have only seen a couple individual plants here and there in full bloom. If you are going to be in this area in July, and are interested in knowing which roads will provide the best shots of these fields, just click on my Travel Maps to see my notes on these back roads.

Lupines and Roses
Lupines and Roses
Blue Flag Iris
Blue Flag Iris
Cottongrass Trail
Cottongrass Trail

While searching the countryside for fireweed I do continue to run into other wildflowers though.

Bald Eagle
Bald Eagle

And also yet more bald eagles, this one perched on some fence rails left in the middle of a meadow that probably once was some kind of farm plot.

Bald Eagle Staredown
Bald Eagle Staredown

I believe this is his ” would you mind just leaving ” stare, obviously a little annoyed at my presence. This was taken from the window of my car with my 600mm lens, so I was not close enough to actually disturb him as he was on the lookout for any movement of prey in the field he was surveying.

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August 7, 2014 South Beach Campground, Washington

Beach bunny
Beach bunny

Still Just Goofing Off at the Beach

Just doing this post to let people know I am still alive, but have adapted only too well to my new life as a beach bum. While the weather inland has been a constant stream of 90 degree days with bright blue skies, here along the beach we have alternating days of temps in the low 60’s when enveloped in day long fog, or temps in the mid 70’s when the fog burns off. When the foggy days get to you, all you have to do is drive inland a couple of miles and you are always under bright blue skies. When I was planning this summer trip to Washington, I was under the impression that i would have to be prepared to handle long days of dreary, rainy weather, but it has been anything but! In the 90 days or so that I have been in western Washington, there have been only two days when it rained at all, and then it was only a brief shower or two.

Beach bunny
Beach bunny

As always, click on any image for a larger, sharper version.

I spend most days reading or doing light work on the motorhome, a little cleaning here and there, maybe wax a small portion when I feel real ambitious ( so, of course, I haven’t really gotten much of this monster waxed ). I also have started on another method of staving off my alzhiemers, attempting to learn programming, become a coder. Both Stanford and MIT offer a lot of their regular computer sciences courses online, for free, for anyone to partake, and, since they are free, I am partaking …  slowly. With a little online searching, I have been able, so far at least, to find the accompanying course textbooks also, and have downloaded them as free PDF’s and then transferred them to my Kindle for ease of reading ( that way I don’t have to have my computer on, running down my RV batteries when I want to study ).

I haven’t done much of any photography for the past few weeks since I rarely leave the beach. The rather cute little bunny is a regular visitor to my campsite, along with many of his peers. This particular one will let me get within a few feet of him before he hops into the berry bushes just 6 feet from my door. When the dogs hop down the steps, the rabbit freezes, sometimes only 5 feet from them, and most of the time they never know he is even there. I don’t know if he is a native cottontail or an introduced eastern cottontail, but I have noticed that every one of the dozen or so rabbits I see here every day have the same small white blaze on their forehead.

Bald eagle on the beach
Bald eagle on the beach
Eagle on the beach
Walking the beach
eagle flying away
And off he goes

About the only other time I got the camera out was last night when I saw this eagle circling over the beach right outside my window. I grabbed the camera and headed to the top of the my site’s path to the beach, just as he landed on some driftwood near the bottom of the path. I slowly crept down toward the beach, keeping myself concealed by the bushes along the path, and as I did so, the eagle hopped down from his perch and, rather than flying away, started rapidly striding toward me. When he was just 30 feet away or so, some idiot also saw him and came running down the beach toward him so he could get a shot with his phone. That of course scared the bird away, just when I thought I was going to get some neat shots. Never did find what it was that had him so interested in this section of beach, maybe a rabbit had wandered out on the edge of the sand?

 

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June 2, 2014 Belfair State Park, Washington

Bald eagle approaching perch
Bald eagle approaching perch

 

My Last Day With the Eagles

This morning I drove up to Big Beef Creek for my final session with the eagles. On the way I stopped in Silverdale at the Bank of America branch to deposit the check from closing out my Citizens checking account, thus cutting my final tie to the state of New Hampshire, home for more than 30 years.

As always, click on any image for a larger, sharper version.

Great blue heron landing
Great blue heron landing
Great blue heron landing
Dropping in

As usual, the great blue herons were the first to arrive on scene.

Bald eagle in tree
The lookout

Then the bald eagles, first one,

7 eagles in a tree
Favorite lookout tree

then many. At one point today, I counted 14 eagles perched in this one tree over the beach.

Bald eagle coming in for a landing
Coming in for a landing
Bald eagle on the oystertbed
Bald eagle on the oystertbed

A bald eagle coming in for, and then sticking a landing in the oyster beds.

Juvenile bald eagle
Juvenile bald eagle
2 bald eagles
Stealing from junior

This juvenile eagle was heading for the trees to enjoy his seaweed wrapped lunch until one of the adults attempts a midair heist.

Low flying bald eagle
Low flying bald eagle

A low flying eagle, for a very large bird their in air dexterity is pretty amazing to witness.

Bald eagle in dive
Dive
Bald eagle in dive
Dive

They hit some pretty amazing speeds when they see something and suddenly dive towards a fish, a heron, or another eagle.

Bald eagle with fish
Checking the cargo hold

This guy is doing his midair check of how visible his catch will be to other eagles before he makes the run to the trees to eat.

Redhead
Sorry, the red hair distracted me

Sorry, I don’t know why this is in an entry on eagles, but the red hair distracted me, kind of got the camera’s attention. Back to the eagles now.

Bald eagles
Bald eagles

At times these guys are all hanging around on the oyster beds, often shoulder to shoulder,

Eagle dispute
Food dispute
Bald eagle dispute
Bald eagle dispute
Eagle squabble
Eagle squabble

and then something to eat comes along and it suddenly just isn’t quite so buddy, buddy.

 

Bald eagles in flight
Bald eagles in flight

Wonderful weather continues on, but the harsh noon day light coinciding with the low tides once again made photography difficult.

2 eagles in flight
Chasing a free meal

I ended up spending about 3 hours on the beach, then said my good byes to my new found friends and headed back to Belfair State Park. All in all, an amazing time at this great spot, probably the best place in the lower 48 for bald eagles. I really hate to leave, and the friendly folks I have met here are a large part of the reason why. Thanks everybody!

Well, you probably noticed the new Amazon ads on the right. I am doing this to hopefully generate a small revenue stream from this blog to cover some of my blogging costs ( hopefully ). If you click through to Amazon from one of the ads on the right, Amazon pays me a small commission on whatever you may be interested in purchasing, it in NO WAY adds to what you will pay for the item, it simply helps this traveler stay on the road a little longer, and share his adventures with you.

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