Juvenile Bald Eagles

Every now and then, I think back to our 27 year stay on Lower Range Pond in Poland, and of the eagles that were so easy for me to photograph due to their nesting right off our point.

Bald Eagle with newborn eaglet, May 2013

Alas, they haven’t nested the last two summers, so even when I do go back to visit, they aren’t as easy to find. I loved seeing those parents soar in with a meal for their chicks, or hear their calls. I miss documenting them, as they raised their young.

This last week, I’d waffled on whether or not to pull my kayak from our new lake to go over to Range Pond for a day. But Monday was so pretty right here, I decided not to roam. Paddling the perimeter, I captured photos of Red-winged Blackbirds calling –

Red-winged Blackbird

and Kingbirds swooping over the water for insects.


I even saw a snapping turtle scurrying back into the water after laying its eggs. Returning to my own dock, I felt satisfied with my finds. I’m not sure what made me look up, but there overhead was this juvenile eaglet perched in the shadows of a pine.

Notice how it doesn’t have all white plumage on it’s head. I believe this puts it at 2 to 3 years old. Eagles don’t get their distinctive white head until they reach breeding age, between 3 and 4 years old.

I only managed a few quick, shaky photos before it flew across the lake. Still, what a find!

Tuesday morning dawned with the lake looking like glass, and it called to me again. This time, I was only minutes into my paddle when I saw the juvenile eagle fly from one tree to another on the other side of the lake.

Slowly, I paddled closer, and closer still, until my 500mm lens, zoomed out as far as it would go, could focus on it. I marveled at having seen this eagle two days in a row.

A crow called out as it flew over my kayak to land in the tree above the juvenile. It called several more times, almost like it was marking the eagle’s location. Other crows responded from all directions on the lake.

Suddenly, the juvenile eagle dropped from the shadows to take flight . . .

I snapped away, not having time to perfect my settings, hoping for the best.

Look at that wingspan!

It wasn’t until I’d gotten home and began editing both sets of photos that I realized these were two different juveniles! The first had a mostly white head. This one hasn’t gotten any of its white feathers yet, putting it at year old, maybe two.

Two paddles, two eagles, one lake Heaven!

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