BALD EAGLE HEAVEN!
November 24th & 25th 2012 (click on pics for BIGGER high resolution versions)
One thing that I do alone because Cheryl does not share this passion is every year I go out to Harrison Mills, BC to see the almighty Majestic Bald Eagle. I also ride out each year as well. On Saturday I counted 10 other bikes on the road, today only 1. Temps started out at 2 C or 34 F and got as high as 7 C or 44 F. Best time of year to ride, heated liner, gloves, good base gear, BUFF hoodie under my helmet and good socks. Awesome!
Since joining BC Transplant last January I really enjoy my time away from work. When we are busy managing cases for work it’s easy to put in 30 hours straight. The time I get to ride for fun and engage in my hobby like eagle watching is rare while off call. This was a great weekend!
The Fraser/Harrison River is a mecca for salmon this time of year. They work their way up to an area made for spawning.
Some of the sights and sounds I got to see and hear over the weekend! BEST viewed in HD and wide screen
Harrison Mills, BC where the largest concentration of Bald Eagles was documented (7362 on Dec 18, 2010)
The Chehalis River is a tributary of the Harrison River, which is in turn a major tributary of the Fraser River. The Chehalis is the river surrounded by white on this link from Google Maps
I ran into David Hancock while out at the Flats Sunday morning!
To be around so many eagles, young and old at one time is amazing if you love raptors like I do. Trumpeter Swans also make a showing here too. Tons of birds, wild life all gather around these flats to feast of the dead salmon who have laid their eggs for the next run of salmon.
The last dance for this pair…
The other beauty around was my bike…Just over 1600 KM on her and with my custom seat and ESA I am loving the street comfort this bike is giving me! Not as smooth as the Triumph Tiger 800XC engine wise, but comfy just the same!
As I got nearer to the flats the skies were speckled with eagles. I only have a 200mm lens and it is just not powerful enough for the distance. Saturday the skies were gray and Sunday a bit more sun.
The ride out is beautiful. I do appreciate where we live! We are lucky and get to ride all year!
Due to the abundance of fish this is one of the rare times you will see juvenille eagles with adults together and not fighting. The juvies learn from the adults, the white heads how to hunt. Eagles do not get their white head and tails until about 5 years old.
I feel for the salmon…they travel so far, lay eggs, the males fertilize and then this…I guess it is just the circle of life
Beautiful BC and part of my ride out to the flats…farmland
When the river is low and the sand bars rise above the water level…that’s when the eagles are happiest. Dead salmon are easily seen and when out there you will see thousands of eagles coming and going. Enough food for all!
Saturday pretty much looked like this with a few periods where the sun peaked out
On Sunday I got out to the flats really early to see the sunrise…the sky looked like it was on fire
Take a good look, this is why so many people flock to the flats…maybe next year I will have a better zoom lens or at least a teleconvertor
Amazing sight no matter how many times I see them. The trilling, all the chatter that goes on out there is very cool and of course the smell of dead salmon adds to the drama!
Cold morning, I guess I should put my pin lock shield in eh?
It was pretty quiet people wise this weekend so at times it was just me. I ran into David Hancock, a local famous biologist and eagle expert. David set up one of the first live web cam of an eagles nest on Vancouver Island in 2006. Millions got to see the intimate side of an eagle pair mate, lay eggs and raise their young. There is a web cam out on these flats if anyone is interested….the link is here: HANCOCK WILDLIFE WEB CAM
This male was not happy about something…trilling away but seemed a bit angry 😉
If you watch closely you can almost figure out who the actual pairs are compared to the solo adults looking for mates. In BC the nest building season starts now and anywhere between March to April mating occurs and eggs are laid.
Protecting his salmon especially from the juvies who really are learning to steal versus get their own. 😉
The silhouette of an adult
Beautiful malting juvenille
Just one of the spectacular views of this area
I hope the readers of this post are getting a feel for this area and it’s beauty.
Another one of my new toy
The ride home was initially sunny hence the sunglasses but as I got closer to home the fog rolled in, temps dropped and sun went away…
So, that’s it…weekend is over and I got my fill of eagles for now. Most likely will head out again early December if I can. The Eagles will stay as long as there are salmon. So, we shall see if they stay into mid December like past years.
Until next time…..can you tell I love eagles? 😉