Taking a break from cityscapes and architecture, this week I packed up my gear and headed back out into nature. A friend and I went out for a morning shoot around the Fox River with no particular goal in mind, however we chanced upon two fisherman who told us that some bald eagles had nested north of us in Mooseheart, where the juveniles were getting ready to fly for the first time.
Arriving at the location it was obvious where the nest was. Bald eagles have the largest nest size of any bird in North America, or possibly anywhere period. I estimate it was probably a good 8-10 feet around, and equally as deep. The juvenile bald eagle is a very dark brown with a few white feathers poking out at various spots on their body. Their heads are not white, nor are their beaks yellow until adulthood, which is at about 5 years old or so. It was very difficult to get any clean photos of the juveniles since the pine tree was fairly thick.
After a few minutes of watching them we noticed an adult in an adjacent tree staring at us very closely. There is very little difference between the male and females, the only distinct difference being size - the females tend to be about 25% larger than the males. Judging by the size I presume this was the father. He hopped around a little bit when we spotted him presumably to watch us closer, but didn't move apart from that. I took this with a 70-200mm 2.8, and this is a 100% crop which tells you how high up he was. I shouldn't be surprised, but I was taken aback at how good their eyesight was. On exposure after exposure you could plainly see they were watching us extremely closely - constantly looking right down the barrel of the lens. These are truly majestic creatures and I hope to get a chance to photograph them flying and feeding at the river.