Eagle on ice

February 02, 2023  •  Leave a Comment

It's February 2nd, AKA, Groundhog Day... and Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow this morning, which means we should expect another 6 weeks of winter. If this was a typical cold and snowy winter in the Hudson Valley region, I would have been annoyed with the stupid groundhog. However, we've had such a wild winter with higher than normal temps and NO snow. I've actually been disappointed because as a wildlife and landscape photographer, I do enjoy getting a few inches of snow here and there. And we have not gotten that this year, so I feel like we've been a little gipped. 

Snow not only looks pretty and makes for some nice landscape photo's after the storm, but it also brings the hawks, owls, and eagles down from the north. The owls and hawks will migrate south once it is difficult for them to hunt rodents in fields due to deep snow. And bald eagles need open water for fishing, so as the rivers, lakes, and ponds start to freeze up north, that pushes them south. With the lack of snow and freezing temps, we don't have nearly the amount of owls, eagles and hawks that we usually would this time of year.

February 2021 was the last time I had an opportunity to get eagles on ice on the Hudson River. I was fortunate to get out on one of those days. It was a bitter cold day and the wind made it feel even worse. We were all standing facing the wind and wow, it was brutal, but I sucked it up and just stood there and waited for some good activity. It was a relatively slow morning, but when we did get activity, it was good. First we enjoyed a distant chase as a couple of eagles chased after one who had a fish. Nobody won as the eagle who had the fish dropped it back in the water. After that, we watched as eagles kept trying to grab this mallard duck in the water. They took turns, each circling around and swooping down. The duck was grabbed a couple of times, but kept getting dropped. Then, out of nowhere an adult bald eagle came swooping in and got the duck. He then proceeded towards the photographers and landed on an ice flow and floated down past us with his prize. That sure was exciting. Then, not long after, an immature bald eagle flew onto an ice flow with a fish. We got a relatively close up view of that too. Although activity was relatively slow, it was a pretty good morning out and I thought I would share the immature bald eagle on the ice with all of you. At this point, I doubt we'll get this type of opportunity this year, so fingers crossed for next year!

Immature Bald EagleImmature Bald EagleAn immature bald eagle hitching a ride on an ice patch on the Hudson River. This image was taken by Debbie Quick from Debs Creative Images.

 


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