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Nesting Eagles in Milford

Mondays being one my days off from work I decided to take advantage of a rather nice day and scout some locations for a couple of photography workshops. I took a drive down to a local beach and finding no inspiration ended up traveling South following the Long Island Sound coastline. At one point I ended down a dead end street by an Audubon Society nature center. Half an hour later with nothing of interest in my camera I started packing up to leave. A woman parked in the car next to me commented on my camera (you know the deal) and we started a conversation about photography. She then asked me if I had gotten any pictures of the eagles. Huh, what eagles?

Apparently a pair of eagles had built a nest nearby. She offered to show me the spot and I couldn't pass this down. Fortunately for me I had my long lens with me. A short drive from the nature center and we were there. The nest was set in a ways from the road and the local Dept. of Environmental Protection had posted several keep away signs. Through several layers of winter tree branches we could clearly see the nest. It was obviously a local spectacle as we were soon joined by a few more people including another photographer with an equally long lens. At first I couldn't see any activity but after a few minutes I was able to make out the top of the female's head occasionally peeking out.

By now the sun was starting to set and I was forced to crank up my ISO. I also was having a hard time focusing through the trees. I flipped to manual and hoped for the best considering I was still a distance off from the nest. Oh, and I was using a monopod. Should I mention that the temperature was also dropping? Lack of activity in the nest, the dropping temperature and the waning light was causing me to call it a day and start packing up when my guide cried out, "here he comes!" The male was returning to the nest.

Okay, maybe I'll stay a little while longer.

It must have been feeding time as the male spent some time hovering over the nest. A few more cars stopped to check out the scene including a family with some very mesmerized young kids. After a while the male took to the skies again but only for a short trip to a nearby tree, offering the other photographer and myself a clearer view... of his butt! Go figure.

A crow came by and scolded the eagle as it turned it's powerful beak to a nearby small branch, trying to break it off to bring back to the nest. The branch proved to be tougher than the eagle and he ended up returning to the nest empty beaked.

All in all, it was really cool to be that close to such majestic birds out in the wild. Specially in an area that is not known for being home to these creatures. Thanks to Laura for pointing the nest out to me. I'll have to return to see if I can get some better shots.

Hope you enjoy these shots. Just goes to show what you might encounter if you keep your options open... and a little luck.

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