My adventures in the woods, streams, rivers, fields, and lakes of Michigan

Muskegon, The eagles were golden, even if the weather wasn’t

Another trip to Muskegon, more photos of a species that I needed photos of. I just wish that the weather had been as nice as what had been forecast.

Instead of partly sunny, it was cloudy and cold, with fog in the morning, and haze in the afternoon. The weather made bird photos more difficult, but it also provided some opportunities for some scenic shots, which I’ll get to shortly.

But first, the trophy photo of the day, a golden eagle.

Golden eagle in flight

Golden eagle in flight

That was one of the last photos of the eagle that I shot, here’s two of it perched.

Golden eagle

Golden eagle

Golden eagle

Golden eagle

Now, back to the beginning. On the way to Muskegon, I stopped several times to take photos of the snow stuck to the trees, looking very festive for the holiday.

Snow scenes

Snow scenes

Snow scenes

Snow scenes

Snow scenes

Snow scenes

Snow scenes

Snow scenes

Arriving at the Muskegon County wastewater treatment facility, I was greeted by first one….

Bald eagle in flight

Bald eagle in flight

…then a second….

Bald eagle in flight

Bald eagle in flight

….Bald eagle in flight. Some sun sure would have helped those!

The deer were out feeding.

Whitetail deer

Whitetail deer

Whitetail deer

Whitetail deer

Whitetail deer

Whitetail deer

There were plenty of mourning doves to be seen.

Mourning doves

Mourning doves

The crows were busy harassing eagles.

Crow harassing a juvenile bald eagle

Crow harassing a juvenile bald eagle

Crow harassing a juvenile bald eagle

Crow harassing a juvenile bald eagle

Juvenile bald eagle in flight

Juvenile bald eagle in flight

Crow harassing a golden eagle

Crow harassing a golden eagle

There were bald eagles on the ice fighting over a kill.

Juvenile bald eagles

Juvenile bald eagles

Bald eagle in flight

Bald eagle in flight

Bald eagles

Bald eagles

Bald eagles

Bald eagles

Bald eagles

Bald eagles

Bald eagles

Bald eagles

Most of the ducks were either gone because the lagoons had frozen over already, or they were laying low because of the number of eagles around, but I did catch this female blue winged teal.

Female blue winged teal in flight

Female blue winged teal in flight

The Canada geese must think that there’s safety in numbers.

Thousands of Canada geese

Thousands of Canada geese

The noise from all those geese was deafening at times, especially when an eagle came close to them!

The snow wasn’t melting very fast.

Snow scene

Snow scene

That didn’t bother this hawk…

Red-tailed hawk in flight

Red-tailed hawk in flight

or these turkeys.

Turkeys

Turkeys

Even though I knew it would still be cloudy there, I decided to stop off at the Muskegon Lake Nature Preserve to see what I could find there.

Snow covered berries

Snow covered berries

Dark eyed junco

Dark eyed junco

Cottontail rabbit

Cottontail rabbit

American tree sparrow

American tree sparrow

American tree sparrow

American tree sparrow

Mute swan in flight

Mute swan in flight

Ring billed gulls

Ring billed gulls

Female house finch

Female house finch

Female house finch

Female house finch

Female house finch

Female house finch

Tundra swans in flight

Tundra swans in flight

Tundra swans in flight

Tundra swans in flight

Hearing the flock of tundra swans was even more memorable than seeing them! Here’s a link to All About Birds where you can listen to the tundra swans if you like. http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Tundra_Swan/sounds

I decided to make one more stop, the channel from Muskegon State Park, stopping to shoot yet another bald eagle on the way.

Juvenile bald eagle in flight

Juvenile bald eagle in flight

Arriving at the channel, I discovered what Santa does on his days off, he goes fishing.

Santa Claus on holiday

Santa Claus on holiday

There were a few birds around as well.

American crow

American crow

White winged scoter

White winged scoter

White winged scoters

White winged scoters

Male red breasted merganser

Male red breasted merganser

Female red breasted merganser in flight

Female red breasted merganser in flight

Female red breasted merganser in flight

Female red breasted merganser in flight

Female red breasted merganser in flight

Female red breasted merganser in flight

Male red breasted merganser

Male red breasted merganser

Sunshine, almost

Sunshine, almost

Muskegon Coast Guard Station

Muskegon Coast Guard Station

With that, I decided to call it a day and head back home to sort photos. I wish that the weather would have been better, but any day with multiple eagles is a good one!

That’s it for this one, thanks for stopping by!

19 responses

  1. Really enjoy your posts. Beautiful wildlife photos!

    November 29, 2013 at 10:39 pm

    • Thanks Karen!

      November 29, 2013 at 10:42 pm

  2. that is awesome. I have seen a lot of eagles in Michigan and never a Golden yet and I am from the west side of the state! Great photo! Really neat stuff!

    November 29, 2013 at 10:39 pm

    • Thanks Thomas, nice to meet a fellow Michigander! I’ve heard that there’s a breeding pair of golden eagles near Muskegon, but I haven’t spotted their nest yet. This is my third time seeing one in Michigan, all near Muskegon.

      November 29, 2013 at 10:44 pm

  3. Enjoyed your photos, nice post!

    November 30, 2013 at 7:16 am

    • Thank you, glad you enjoyed it!

      November 30, 2013 at 7:51 am

  4. I’ve been kind of hoping that Santa was out shopping for the Lichens of North America book that’s on my list, but apparently he has more important things to do. What’s next, deer hunting?
    I wonder if bald and golden eagles fight over territory. They must, if they live that close together. It’s a great opportunity for photographers, as you’ve shown.
    I like the puffed up tree sparrows and the shots of the flying ducks.
    Winter has paid a visit to Michigan before New Hampshire this year-we still haven’t had a measurable snow fall in this part of the state. The cold appears to be here to stay though.

    November 30, 2013 at 9:18 am

    • Thanks Allen!

      I doubt if the two species of eagles would fight over territory, bald eagles eat mostly fish, and nest near water when they can. Golden eagles prey mainly on small to medium-sized mammals, such as hares, rabbits, ground squirrels, prairie dogs, and prefer to nest up high, either cliffs or trees on top of higher ground.

      It warmed up here a lot today, 10 degrees higher than forecast! I was digging it, believe me.

      November 30, 2013 at 5:58 pm

      • I never knew that eagles ate different things. I thought they all ate just about anything.

        December 1, 2013 at 9:33 am

      • Well, they will eat just about anything, including carrion, however, each species has their own preferred foods and nesting areas.

        December 1, 2013 at 3:32 pm

  5. Pingback: My week, Thanksgiving | Quiet Solo Pursuits

  6. Fine pictures to get from such a chilly day. Well done.

    November 30, 2013 at 6:48 pm

    • Thanks Tom, battling the elements was worth it!

      November 30, 2013 at 10:40 pm

  7. lthikes

    I love your photos! I’m glad Santa is relaxing before the big day.

    November 30, 2013 at 7:40 pm

    • Thanks, every one needs a day fishing now and then, even Santa.

      November 30, 2013 at 10:42 pm

  8. I’m still jealous of the birds you get to see and photograph. Beautiful shots! Thanks for letting me live vicariously through your adventures! (Still think that shot of snow on the berries would be a great Christmas card. 😉 )

    November 30, 2013 at 7:51 pm

    • Thanks Jan, if you ever decide to vacation in Michigan, and need a guide, I’d be happy to show you around.

      November 30, 2013 at 10:43 pm

  9. Not fair..not fair..not fair….YOU HAVE AWESOME BIRDS !! It’s been dead around here except all of the excitement of the snowy owls. Jealous of your white-winged scoter – oh heck, all of them.!
    Your recent deer images have been true art. Love how you blend them into their environment.

    December 7, 2013 at 9:49 pm

    • Thanks, I think. I’ve gotten so many photos of deer that I play more often these days, seeing how little of them I can show while people can still see them.

      December 7, 2013 at 10:01 pm