Two weekends ago temperatures dropped below zero for a couple days, which did cause the reservoirs to almost completely freeze over. This for me was a good thing, because it forced the eagles to be near the stream where I can get the closest to them. The eagle numbers were the highest I’ve seen this winter, but still lower than normal. I was seeing about ten eagles every time I went out.
However I only managed a few photographs. I was having problems with lighting. With the lens I use it has a very high f-stop when at long range, which was causing problems with getting the proper lighting. Also due to this, most of the time I had to use a 1600 ISO. Which I would prefer not to use because of the extra noise that it adds to photographs. Also I was battling the sun all day. It was either too bright or not enough. It always seemed to sneak behind a cloud at the worst moments. In addition I was having problems with the full mature eagles because there heads were overexposing, and I could not figure out how to prevent it, without the rest of the image being drastically underexposed.
Furthermore I had a day that when I arrived at the lake, there was a construction crew working on clearing brush and putting in new electric poles. They were working right where the eagles roost and feed. This really upset me, especially since they were running a chainsaw and making tons of noise. There are signs that it is an endangered species area during the winter months because of the eagle population in the area during those months. Also there are signs stating that outdoor activity will disturb eagles. Yet they were out there working. It just seemed like poorly timed construction work. Due to there noise the eagles left the area for the day. But the next morning they were back and it was the best day I had all week.
During my trips last week I was also seeing much higher numbers of ducks. I saw plenty of common mergansers, black ducks, and a few hooded mergansers. But I also found two common goldeneye ducks, which I don’t normally see. I also spotted a downy woodpecker, but he didn’t stay around for long.
Towards the end of last week, the weather had started another warming trend. It is quite crazy. Temperatures fell to below zero and days later it climbed into the fifties, with average temperatures around freezing. I am hoping that I continue to see more eagles, but I believe that the warm weather won’t help. I guess at least I can look forward to the spring duck migration. Until next time.