Seabeck Through The Rear-View Mirror

I have a habit of always arriving early, no matter where I go.  Perhaps I learned that in the Army, but, if so, I probably learned it too well. So well, that I always arrive at Big Beef Creek an hour, or more, earlier than the eagles and herons show up.  Luckily, there are always interesting things to see there if you look hard enough.  

I think this is the first American Goldfinch shot that I got this year.  

This inquisitive Harbor Seal must have entertained me for at least a half hour as it hunted fish in the shallow water.

Long before the show officially begins prominent actors in the drama fly across the stage, apparently as anxious as I for the show to start.

You know the curtain is about to raise when the Great Blue Herons begin to take up strategic fishing spots.

For me, the highlight of the show is the interaction of the Bald Eagles and the Great Blue Herons.

More often than not, the Great Blue Herons will drop their catch and squawk in outrage.  Remarkably, in all the time I’ve watched the scene I’ve never seen a heron get hit by an eagle, even when it refuses to drop its catch.  

I’ve Fallen Behind and Can’t Catch Up

Though I can think of a thousand reasons (many I really don’t want to dwell on) why I haven’t blogged lately, I’ll just say that I really wanted to focus on this series of shots I took at Seabeck but I didn’t want to put in the time that it took to get it ready.  This was originally a sequence of thirty-or-so shots (obviously I should have been shooting a video not taking single shots) of Bald Eagles interacting at Seabeck that I took a few weeks ago.  The shots were taken at a considerable distance, so I had to go through several steps to make each shot good enough to post.  In the end, I narrowed it down to these six shots.  

I began by just taking a shot of this Bald Eagle holding a flounder in its beak.

Instead of calmly eating it’s catch, it looked up and started to fly away.

Surprisingly, it dropped its fish and readied  to 

fend off an attacker trying to steal its catch.

The battle raged for a few seconds before a juvenile Bald Eagle landed, trying to sneak away with a meal while the other two fought.

The scuffle that followed was nearly impossible to follow; all I know for sure is that one of the adult Bald Eagles flew off with the fish while the immature Bald Eagle and other adult hassled each other.

The scuffle was definitely the highlight of what, unfortunately, turned out to be a rather dull outing.  It was clear that I had missed the Sculpin Run and things were beginning to slow down considerably.   

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.

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