A Family Affair: A return Home!


After a few times going back to the Eagle's nest and not finding any one of family of five there, I started thinking they might have moved on or worse! In the middle of our summer here one of the sources of food for the Eagles had taken a pretty big hit. The river that runs through our town, The Animas, was running bright orange, after a mine clean up went wrong and millions of gallons of polluted mine waste was dumped into about an hour north of town. This concerned me, I hadn't seen the family of Eagle's for a few weeks at this point, and now we had reason to believe that due to the river pollution we may never see them again. On this particular night, some friends and I decided to take a trip up north and catch the sunset at one of our favorite alpine lakes, Clear Lake. However, with one of our friends running behind the timing wasn't going to work and we needed to adjust our plan and since I had been coming up empty with the eagles, I thought going to do a drive by at the nest was a good idea. If they weren't there than my friends and I could go catch sunset at the Reservoir, but sure enough when we showed up a lot of questions were answered. As we drove up to the tree, a sight I hadn't seen in almost a month, Daddy Eagle hanging in his favorite spot.Considering, I hadn't seen any of them in awhile I got very excited. Jumping out of the Jeep, I grabbed my equipment and went to one of my favorite spots to start photographing. With my gear setup, Dad in my sights, and nearly close to perfect lighting, I got wrapped up in photographing and forgot that most of the family was still missing. Lucky for me, I had my best scout with me and about ten minutes into shooting Dad in his favorite spot I hear a "Got one!" Sure enough my good friend spotted something I had been dying for since I began this series, one of the babies flying up to the tree from the ground.Trying to contain my excitement and concentrate on getting my first shots of one of the babies in full flight, I hear another "Got another one," and just like that on a day I wasn't even going to visit them, I was able to photograph two of the eaglets in flight as well as Dad in his favorite spot! For awhile I didn't think these shots wouldn't happen and after the mine spill those thoughts only got worse. But here they were, in all their flying glory. Better yet, that awesome light I was talking about turned into one of the best sunsets I have experienced while out with the Eagles.This was the first shot I got, after the family left the nest, where I had more than half the family there. On the branch of the right of the tree, you will see both babies and Dad while not visible because of the tree's leaves, was still there and hanging out with his kids.  Now as exciting as this was, we were still missing two eagles. Mom and the third baby were nowhere in sight and while I was still worried for them, I was much more optimistic and hopeful of seeing the entire family back together, but that would have to wait, hopefully, until next time.

Click here for the entire Bald Eagle Gallery!