Daily Image - Jan 2011 Archive - sonofjohan

If there ever was an amazing species recovery story, it has to be that of the American Bald Eagle. From virtually never seeing one in the wild as a kid, to now seeing them on a regular basis here in the city, this bird has made a remarkable comeback. One might even suggest that they are becoming a pest, or, if not quite that strong a position, a consideration of them now becoming a threat to other species, in particular, in this area, Great Blue Herons. Regardless of how you view them as a population, there are definitely something of beauty to see in the wild and around here you need travel only for a couple of hours to place yourself in their midst. Along SR20 in WA, in the town of Rockport, there is an Eagle Interpretive Center which is dedicated to the survival of the Bald Eagle. Part of their work is to count the eagles on a regular basis and report the findings on their webpage. The day prior to our visit they reported having counted 375 individual birds, and while I always wonder how they can distinguish between that many individuals, I figured that was a large enough number to make the visit to the area worthwhile. And it was as we saw over 60 birds in a period of roughly 2 hours. Interestingly, they are not all that easy to spot in the trees, even with the leaves off the branches. Somehow these large brown birds with their distinctive white heads and tails seemingly blend in with the trees. On the river banks they are rather easy to spot, but once perched in the trees and sitting there like statues, they become part of the forest. As hard as that may seem to be, I'm providing a shot of what you see when you are there. Now I've removed the color to make it easier to spot the birds, which odd as it seems, really does help. When I took this shot I thought I was seeing 8 birds both through the viewfinder and with the "naked" eye. Upon studying the image on the screen, my count of the birds changed. So take a look and determine for your self how many birds there are, and, in the process, access the ease with which you find them. The image is very busy, just as it was at the location of the shot. ISO 320; 1/200 sec @ f / 11