Back to Big Beef Creek

My second outing to Big Beef Creek/Seabeck this year turned out considerably better than my first visit, though still not as successful as visits in past years.  As usual, I got there earlier than I needed to and had to spend an  hour or so entertaining myself before the real action began.  

Though there seemed to be fewer fish, and birds, than in previous years, the gulls found fish before the Great Blue Heron or the Bald Eagles.  I must admit I was surprised to see an immature Glaucous-Winged Gull 

dive into the water 

and come up with a fish

before the herons or eagles had begun to feed.

Soon after, though, Great Blue Herons flew across looking for the best fishing spots.

An immature Bald Eagle quickly swept up a fish stranded on the shore, 

and buzzed me on the way to find a larger catch.

Skunked at Big Beef Creek

One of my favorite places this time of year is Seabeck/Big Beef Creek where Great Blue Herons and Bald Eagles gather to feast on Midshipman and Sculpin runs.  

Unfortunately, my timing seems to have been off so far this year.  I first visited a little over a week ago but got so few shots that I didn’t even bother to download them to the computer until after my latest visit.

I picked a day when the tide went out very slowly and wasn’t a real low tide.  So I spent the first hour or so waiting for the tide to recede far enough that the eagles and herons would show up. Not one to rest quietly in the car (especially since I hadn’t thought far enough ahead to bring a book), I got this shot of some wild roses beside the road.  I think it was my favorite shot of the day.

The main distraction while waiting for the tide was watching the crows harass this immature Bald Eagle.

It needed better light to be a really good shot, but I still like the action.

As it turned out, the eagles and herons really never showed up in any numbers and, even though a few Great Blue Herons 

flew by in the distance they never stayed put very long.  We only saw one or two fish caught the three hours we were there.  Perhaps the tide wasn’t high enough, or low enough, for the fish to come in.  

Luckily when I visited a few days ago, I saw more Bald Eagles and Great Blue Herons. Sometimes persistence and luck can compensate for a lack of wisdom.

Seabeck’s Great Blue Herons

Unlike most photographers, I don’t go to Big Beef Creek to get great Bald Eagle Shots — though I probably spend more time trying to capture shots of them than I do trying to capture shots of Great Blue Herons. Still, my favorite shots from Big Beef Creek and Seabeck are the shots of the Great Blue Herons floating by below me,

Great Blue Heron flyby

gracefully landing with outspread wings,

Great Blue Heron landing

or snatching fish from the water.

Great Blue Heron with fish

I’ve taken pictures of Great Blue Herons nearly fourteen years now, but my favorite shots are those taken at Seabeck. As it turns out, these three aren’t quite as good as ones I’ve taken there before.

Back to Seabeck

After we unpacked from our Malheur/Bear River/Santa Rosa trip we headed up to Seabeck, knowing full well that we had already missed the best times to see the Bald Eagles and Great Blue Herons. The tide wasn’t ideal but got even worse on any of the days before we were to leave for Colorado.

If I hadn’t had such great days in previous years, I would probably have been more than happy with the shots on this visit. After all, this immature Bald Eagle was waiting for us at Big Beef Creek when we pulled up,

and I only had to wait a half hour or so before this mature Bald Eagle swooped down

but missed his catch.

Although there was a really long stretch of time with little or no action, we did manage to get some close-up shots of another immature Bald Eagle

and adult Bald Eagle at Seabeck.

This Bald Eagle was so close that I couldn’t resist cropping it into a headshot.