Monday, April 25, 2011

Capturing danger that lurk from above

 My wife, Amy, often comments on how our dog, Toshiro, a designer Japanese Chin Pomeranian mix, is in constant awareness of his surroundings. There’s not a movement within the backyard or flying overhead that doesn’t escape his gaze.  While, on the other hand, Buffy, our daughters’ Pekingese Pomeranian, looks only at ground level and not at those dangers lurking above.

After cutting the grass and pulling weeds on Saturday, we were all out enjoying a moment of relaxation in the late evening sun. Amy and I in deckchairs, the two dogs soaking up sunbeams, Toshiro’s glaze turned upwards. I spotted a Bald Eagle circling high overhead much like one of those WWI airplanes that flew in search of targets.  As the eagle started to lazily spiral downwards and loomed bigger and bigger with each circling pass, it became obvious that the hunter had spied Buffy sunbathing and was thinking about a dinner of Chinese takeout.

As soon as it made a low pass, no higher than 20-feet above over our rooftop only to land in a tall tree across the road, Amy called to the dogs while I ran downstairs, grabbed a camera and attached to a 300mm and 1.4 converter.

With both dogs safely indoors, it soon became apparent the perched eagle had no intentions of going anywhere anytime soon and we both settled into our respective waiting games, me taking pictures and it, waiting for the meals-on-wheels to reappear unguarded.

For years we’ve seen this particular bird out on patrol, but in the past Pepper, our Dalmatian, was a force to be reckoned with and the kept all raptors at bay.  However, since Pepper had passed two years ago, the eagles’ low-level overhead flights had become more or less a standard routine.

While capturing a few shots of the bird, from it’s lofty perch, looking downwards with those keen eyes, the situation started to get more interesting, when a single crow started cawing and dive-bombing the eagle.  Crows are fiercely territorial and will heckle and hassle any bird, big or small, that invades its’ space so I was able to get some shots of the crow buzzing the mighty hunter.

After a bit, the eagle finally grew tiresome of the harassing crow, swooped down from the limb to a make low-level pass near the trees bordering our fence line.

While it made an flyby overhead I was able to capture some really sweet pictures of the bird flying right at the camera as it made one final pass before continuing on in search of easier unsuspecting prey.

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