An Eagle for Boxing Day
On the day after Christmas, Boxing Day is observed in many English-speaking countries around the world. For some reason, it is well known, but only erratically observed in the United States. Mostly, we use it as an excuse to take another vacation day after Christmas.
My Christmas present this year was a new Canon EF 100-400mm II telephoto lens. Among the first subjects I wanted to photograph with it were the Black Oystercatchers on "Fraggle Rock" in Deception Pass State Park. Winter is the best time to find them there. On Boxing Day, I headed over to the park with the new lens.
When I got there, I was pleased to find several dozen Oystercatchers on the rock. Just as I was getting ready to shoot, some ignorant, yahoo tourist started throwing things at the birds. This is the second time I have observed this behavior in the same spot. The gulls weren't bothered, but all of the Oystercatchers flew off, about fifty in all. My shoot was over before it started. I don't understand why some people can't just enjoy the occasion. Instead, they find pleasure in ruining it for everyone else.
Plan B would be a spin around the Sand Done Trail nearby. Maybe the Oystercatchers would be back later. Almost directly over the trail where it enters the Dune Forest, I spotted this Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus). It was perched in the tree 80-100 feet (25-30 meters) above me. This is where a 400mm lens shines It's actually reaching 640mm on my APS-C 7D camera. There is a pair that I often see perched in this same tree. It is not unusual to spot one or both of them around the Dune Forest. I am guessing they have a nest somewhere in the Cranberry Lake area
After completing my hike around the Sand Dune Trail, I headed back up to the rock. The Oystercatchers had not returned. At least my Boxing Day in the park wasn't a total loss. I have some pretty good eagle photos shot with the new lens to show for the morning.