Logan, Leslie and I were greeted by several photographers and even more Great Blue Herons when we arrived at Big Beef Creek at 5:40 AM on June 30th. High tide was nearly two hours earlier and the Great Blue Herons had probably been fishing for nearly an hour by that time. Remembering all the times my father had gotten me up before sunrise so we could be on the water at sunrise, it was probably ideal fishing for the herons.
If there had been more light, fewer clouds, and the herons had been a hundred yards closer, it would have been a perfect photographic opportunity. As it was, we were treated to quite the show as the eagles swept in repeatedly to steal fish from the herons. Unfortunately, there was so little light that even if you could manage to pull a little color into the photograph there was so much noise that most of the shots were not salvageable.
An hour later, with the sun higher on the horizon, I was able to get a few shots that captured some of the action — if I adjusted them in Lightroom and didn’t crop them too tightly.
Luckily things turned better when we finally moved up to Seabeck around 8:00 AM. Even with the lack of sunshine, we were close enough to get some pretty good shots. This immature Bald Eagle flew in to greet us.
Logan seemed to be having a great time,
which made the 4:30 wake-up worthwhile, no matter how few shots might turn out. Leslie and Logan also spotted these Harbor Seals hanging out below the wharf, one of the few times I’ve ever seen them with more than their head out of the water.
The main attraction here, though, are the Great Blue Herons which gather at the fishing hole just behind Barbie’s (closed) restaurant.
They gather here just before the tide goes out enough to reveal a small pool where the Sculpin seem to get trapped in larger numbers than anywhere else. If you’re lucky, you get to witness the intimidation the herons use to claim the spot.
If you’re unlucky you miss the best shot of the day because one of the herons jumps right out of the frame. My consolation is that Logan, standing further away, managed to capture the whole scene (which I posted quite awhile ago) with my older, far-less-expensive gear .