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Saturday, April 11, 2009

Stellar Stellers and a Juvie Bald Eagle

After our amazing transient encounter the other day, we headed up to Kelp Reef in northern Haro Strait to check out some Steller sea lions. When we first got there I didn't see any Stellers....but that kelp? No, it's a sea lion lump! These guys were just hanging there at the surface with only part of their backs exposed, and they looked just like a piece of kelp floating on the surface:

Once they lifted their heads it was much easier to identify them as Steller sea lions:

There were three big males in total. I found this picture of the three of them pretty comical as they came over to check us out:

But I reminded myself these guys can weight 1500 pounds MORE than an adult male grizzly bear! So my respsect for them was duly restored.

The water was so calm and clear that my eye was then attracted to the bull kelp bed we were floating over. The fronds were trailing at the surface and you could look straight down at the stipes as they disappeared into the depths below:

When I got back to shore I thought my wildlife viewing for the day might be over, but not so! After dinner we decided to go for a walk (I love this staying light until 8 o'clock again!), and on our way to the park we slowed down for a turkey vulture in the road. While we waited for the turkey vulture to move on, Keith spotted a juvenile bald eagle sitting in the tree right next to the road! It certainly didn't seem to mind our presence as I leaned out the window and took a few pictures. It's probably the closest I've ever been to a bald eagle, especially a perched one! The next day when I biked by this road I saw the remnants of a fox carcass on the street right where the eagle and vulture had been, so this must be what was attracting their attention that evening.

The eagle looks so fierce in the photo above, but look at this head-on photo of him/her looking right at the camera! I won't call it a comical shot (I don't want to belittle this top predator either), but it certainly is a cuter look than you usually get from an eagle:

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Beautiful series. You folks have some awesome sightings. The 2nd last image of the Sea Lions is fantastic composition.

Happy Easter