All photos taken on May 19, 2022.
When we were planning our stay at Port Renfrew, Patty was giddy with excitement for me. She said, “Now you will get lots of photos of eagles.” I was excited too, to tell the truth. I saw an eagle flying by our ferry when crossing to the Island and another flying down the inlet, but close up opportunities for the first 3 days were few and far between.
But on the most glorious last day, they seemed to be out and about everywhere. Back from our hikes for the day, a bald eagle flew by and landed in a tree right in front of our cottage. He was partly obscured by branches, but he was still magnificent. When he flew away, I jumped in the shower and thought nothing more about it.
The bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) is a bird of prey found in North America. A sea eagle, it has two known subspecies and forms a species pair with the white-tailed eagle (Haliaeetus albicilla), which occupies the same niche as the bald eagle in the Palearctic. Its range includes most of Canada and Alaska, all of the contiguous United States, and northern Mexico. It is found near large bodies of open water with an abundant food supply and old-growth trees for nesting.
The bald eagle is an opportunistic feeder which subsists mainly on fish, which it swoops down and snatches from the water with its talons. It builds the largest nest of any North American bird and the largest tree nests ever recorded for any animal species, up to 4 m (13 ft) deep, 2.5 m (8.2 ft) wide, and 1 metric ton (1.1 short tons) in weight. Sexual maturity is attained at the age of four to five years.
Bald eagles are not actually bald; the name derives from an older meaning of the word, “white headed”. The adult is mainly brown with a white head and tail. The sexes are identical in plumage, but females are about 25 percent larger than males. The yellow beak is large and hooked. The plumage of the immature is brown.
The bald eagle has a body length of 70–102 cm (28–40 in). Typical wingspan is between 1.8 and 2.3 m (5 ft 11 in and 7 ft 7 in) and mass is normally between 3 and 6.3 kg (6.6 and 13.9 lb). Females are about 25% larger than males, averaging as much as 5.6 kg (12 lb), and against the males’ average weight of 4.1 kg (9.0 lb).
taking in the view
You lookin’ at me?
Don’t make me come over there!
I got my eye on you.
We went about the rest of our day, dinner, s’mores, sunset, etc. When we came back to the cottage, I plugged the SD card in to download the day’s photos onto the computer. As they flicked by, I could see some very clear shots of a bald eagle. Hmmmm, I don’t remember taking those. Was I wrong about how much of the tree was blocking my shots?
At that moment, Patty started laughing. Turns out, when I went to shower, the eagle came back and sat exposed on a branch right out front. She started snapping and swore the others to secrecy. Good surprise.
I got tired of that old bald guy looking at me, but you’re OK! Hubba Hubba.
OK, this is why they call me bald, but as you can clearly see, I am not.
Here is my fierce pose.
Fierce pose left.
OK, bald guy is back, quick, hide.
When we first saw this next guy, we thought he must be a juvenile that did not have mature plumage yet. Turns out, this was an osprey. Sighting an osprey is supposed to be good luck. I felt lucky, for sure.
The osprey (Pandion haliaetus), also called sea hawk, river hawk, and fish hawk, is a diurnal, fish-eating bird of prey with a cosmopolitan range. It is a large raptor reaching more than 60 cm (24 in) in length and 180 cm (71 in) across the wings. It is brown on the upperparts and predominantly greyish on the head and underparts.
The osprey tolerates a wide variety of habitats, nesting in any location near a body of water providing an adequate food supply. It is found on all continents except Antarctica, although in South America it occurs only as a non-breeding migrant.
As its other common names suggest, the osprey’s diet consists almost exclusively of fish. It possesses specialised physical characteristics and exhibits unique behaviour to assist in hunting and catching prey.