Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Spring Migration - Bald Eagle in Commerce Twp., MI

The first full day of spring was graced with beautiful blue skies and pleasant (for March) temperatures. When we are treated to such a marvelous day in Southeast Michigan, one can't help but look up into the sky with amazement and appreciation of the clear blue sky. As a birder, my eyes are always on the sky looking at the birds that are flying about, especially in the early days of the spring migration season. This day, turned out to be spectacular in what I found as I did my usual scan of the sky for birds. I lifted my eyes skyward and there I saw it, a very large black bird being trailed by a gull, a few feet behind. My first thought was its the usual Turkey Vulture enjoying a wind thermal lifting it lazily on the March breezes. With a longer gaze and knowing that gulls normally don't mob vultures, the black bird's tail and head caught the sun's rays and displayed a brilliant flash of white. My first thought was don't get too excited it can't be a Bald Eagle, not very common and plus, you have never seen one in the 23 years you have lived in Commerce Twp. You have only seen them on the Great Lakes and in Florida. My birding skills took over once again, I ran inside the house, grabbed my binoculars, raised them to my eyes, and I was thrilled to confirm my first Bald Eagle soaring freely in the sky above my home. I watched as the eagle twisted and turned as the gull gently mobbed it without much threat of contact. The photographer in me said, quick, grab your camera and record this moment. This is one of those moments that you live for as a birding photographer. I ran back inside the house, grabbed my camera, swapped out the short Canon 24-105mm telephoto lens for the longer reach of the Canon 100-400mm lens. I raised the camera to the sky and was able to capture a few confirming photos of the eagle and gull in a dangerous dance of bird mobbing. The eagle was kind enough to stay in sight for a few photos before it flew off to locations unknown as it made its spring migration to its summer breeding grounds.

A day full of triumph for me, to see a Bald Eagle in my area of Michigan and the ability to photograph the event for my birding blog.

Happy Spring and a fine way to start the bird migration season with the symbolic bird of freedom and democracy, the Bald Eagle.

Happy Birding!