Muskegon Oct. 12th, 2014 The eagles have landed
This post is about the trip that I made to Muskegon on October 12th, 2014., yes, I’m that far behind in my postings.
I also know that I said that I wasn’t going to be going to Muskegon as often, but I just never know what I’m going to find there, so I can’t stop myself from going back regularly. I suppose the same could be said about where I live, as I shot this rare orange ring-billed gull as I was loading my camera gear into my Subaru.
Ring-billed gulls are common, but I only see the orange ones at sunrise and sunset, I wonder where they spend the daylight hours. 😉
When I arrived at the wastewater treatment facility, I spotted this heron scoping out the grassy cells, looking for a good area to hunt.
However, I didn’t linger at the grassy cells. I had arrived early, so I drove to the southeast corner of the east lagoon to get the best possible light on anything that I may have wanted to photograph. That way, I’d have the sun at my back as I checked out the waterfowl in the lagoon.
There was an eagle there that may have had the same idea.
So, I got out of my vehicle to walk along the lagoon in hopes of sneaking up on some waterfowl, when I heard and saw two eagles fighting. Of course they were to the east of me, so I was shooting towards the sun, the best laid plans seldom work out, and this was another almost winner moment.
If only they had been to the west of me, sigh. For as large as they are, they are certainly agile flyers!
This sparrow had been watching the eagles as well.
With the eagles out of sight, I went back to sneaking up on waterfowl, here’s a female ruddy duck next to a female mallard so you can see how small ruddy ducks are.
And here’s a pair of bufflehead, which are only slightly larger than a ruddy duck.
They didn’t stick around long though.
I was able to get a fair shot of a northern harrier working the creek that runs next to the lagoon.
And these guys were everywhere, as you will see. 😉
I shot quite a few other waterfowl in the area, but I shot even better ones on my next trip, so I won’t bore you with the fair ones, instead, I’ll bore you with an only fair eagle image.
It didn’t stick around long either.
Some how, there’s a shadow on its face, I asked it if it could please pose a little better…
…thank you! It then flew off in search of the other eagle.
My best photo of the day, and it’s of a female mallard, go figure.
And it is even of her butt, why does that always seem to happen? 😉
I found a few Bonaparte’s gulls.
And, I couldn’t resist this pipit that had just waved to me, although I was slow on the shutter.
The wood duck curse continues to haunt me, as a blade of grass was blown in front of the lens as I shot this.
I had no such problems with this heron though.
And here’s a female mallard with two blue-winged teal for size comparison.
The kestrel was hunting the creek that runs between the lagoons and the grassy cells, I was able to get one of my better kestrel photos of it.
They’re so cute, but tiny little falcons, about the same size as a dove, and very hard to get close to, so I’m happy with that one.
Yet another heron, after a summer when I saw very few, there’s at least half a dozen hanging around the wastewater facility this fall.
I checked the grassy cells, the only shorebird to be found was this killdeer.
So, a couple of the pipits agreed to fill in for the missing shorebirds. 😉
By now, the sun was getting higher in the sky, so I drove along the west lagoon, and spotted one of the eagles duck hunting. I wonder if it had a license. 😉
It’s a hard to see in the small version here, but the eagle was flying low over the lagoon. You can see ruddy ducks with their tails up, and some splashes in the eagle’s path where the ducks were diving out of the eagle’s sight.
I was surprised that these two birds were as calm as they were with the eagle nearby.
I drove down to the Swanson/Laketon fields, but nothing that I saw or photographed is worth posting here. So, I returned to the area near the headquarters of the wastewater facility, and found both the eagles in one of the large pines there.
I’m almost positive that these were the same two eagles that had been fighting earlier, now, they were perched in the same tree, a little over a mile from where the fight had taken place.
I got a little closer, and shot these images that I have cropped.
Then, I got even closer for these photos which haven’t been cropped at all.
I was about to leave, but I decided to shoot a few more pipits before I left.
I’m glad that I decided to stay a few more minutes, as the lighter of the two eagles flew off, followed by a large flock of crows which were harassing the eagle. No photos, the eagle stayed below the tree tops. However, the darker of the two eagles remained perched, and the crows were flying right past it on their way to harass the lighter eagle.
Crows have excellent eyesight, they had to have seen the second eagle, yet not one of them did anything about that eagle, they were all too busy chasing the other one. It was also funny to watch the eagle watching the crows fly by.
I then ran over to the Muskegon Lake Nature Preserve, but the only bird that I shot was this white-crowned sparrow.
So, I’ll throw in a monarch butterfly to fill space, as if I needed to fill space. 😉
I also shot a few landscapes.
These next two were shot looking almost into the sun using the 10-18 mm lens.
I don’t understand how that lens gets the exposure correct when shooting in the “wrong” direction, when no other lens that I have ever used would.
I suppose that I don’t have to understand why that lens performs as it does, I’ll just keep in mind that I can shoot in any direction with it.
So, that wraps up another trip to Muskegon. The next time, which I’ll get around to posting one of these days, I got good photos of at least two species of birds that I’ve seen before, but never gotten images good enough to make a positive ID of the species. The two that come to mind are tundra swans and ring-necked ducks, but there may have been a third species. I also got poor photos of a peregrine falcon harassing a much larger northern harrier. So, I guess that I’ll go back again this weekend to see what I can see.
That’s it for this one, thanks for stopping by!