Tuesday, November 24, 2009

A Golden Day, Bar None

To shake off our jet lag resulting from our recent trip to the Philippines, Cynthia and I decided to chase after the Bar-tailed Godwit at the Upper Newport Bay. We probably arrived a tad too late because the tide was already rising and as such, the rare Godwit usually flies off to the less accessible parts of the bay. Nevertheless, we still waited for about two hours for our target bird to show up, finally giving up at around 11:30 am.

From there we visited nearby San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary. I was walking slowly, a bit dejected from missing the Bar-tailed Godwit (which have been seen by probably every birder in Southern California) when Cynthia yelled "Hawk! Hawk!". She was pointing at some dark object by the edge of Pond C. We have not fully unpacked from our trip and that was the reason I did not have my binoculars with me to check out what my wife was enthusiastically directing my attention at. Peering through my meager 300mm zoom lens, I finally saw a raptor grasping some black thing..barely visible from the pond's edge. I thought it was a dark morphed Red-tailed Hawk. I was still pondering over its identity when it suddenly flew off carrying a dead Coot in its talons. Cynthia and I thought that was the end of it and meandered back to the parking lot, taking shots at whatever interesting bird we find along the way. Near the entrance we saw Thang, a fellow bird photographer, busily shooting something something atop an electrical post. I hurried to where he was and discovered that the "hawk" I saw was now feasting on the dead Coot at the top of the pole. Then I realized that what we were looking at was actually a Golden Eagle enjoying its lunch! This was the first time I have seen this species this close. It stayed up there until all that was left of its meal were a few feathers and some tiny bones. I will now let the pictures tell the story of an Eagle enjoying lunch:

Lunch to go:


Yummy!


Mmmm!


A little stretch after lunch
What goes in.....


I'm outta here...


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8 comments:

eileeninmd said...

Now that is a cool sighting. You got some great shots of the Golden Eagle.

Kelly said...

Wow!! Great series. I've never seen a Golden Eagle, and how wonderful that you were able to get so close!!

Larry Jordan said...

Super photos of the Golden Eagle Bob. What an amazing bird. Personally, I think they should be our national bird.

My favorite shot...the one with the spread wings, before the defecation shot.

Wren said...

Gosh, those are great photos! I've not been that close to a golden eagle in the wild.

mick said...

A magnificent bird and you have taken some really great photos.

Amy said...

Wow, awesome sighting!! Great shots. I've only seen Golden Eagles flying way up high. I know I'd be so excited to see one so close.

yen said...

simply wonderful.

yen said...

crisp, clean shots...fantastic