© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography

Flight of the Eagle


It began as a short drive to Birch Bay north of Bellingham, Wash.

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography

A bald eagle sits on a sandbar in Birch Bay north of Bellingham, Wash.

My girlfriend Heidi and I went to do some low-tide seashell hunting and walk along the beach. Just enjoy a nice day with her and the sea sans cameras.

So without camera, we trotted off to enjoy the low tide and see what is usually hidden by the sea.

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography

It sits, watching its surroundings.

People were out and about searching for crab, geoduck, playing with their dogs, kayaking, and generally having fun. It looked more like a holiday than a mid-week day.

We walked around a bit searching for shells and I noticed something a bit funny: a bald eagle just sitting on a sandbar about 100 yards away. I watched as it pruned itself.

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography

It notices me as I slowly approach. Being quiet and not making quick moves.

Watching the big bird, I remembered one of my fave quotes: “When you miss a beautiful shot for any reason, you still have a picture for the soul.” Yeah, but this was one photo I didn’t want to get away.

So I ran back to the car to grab my cameras. Grabbed my long lens and headed towards the eagle as it continued to sit and clean itself.

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography

It goes back to preening itself. Beautiful.

At first I thought it just landed for a quick breather. Then I wondered if it was hunting, but eagle hunt from the sky. They seek their prey from on high, then swoop down to catch it. I wondered if it may have been hurt or somehow got oil on its feathers as a BP refinery is close by.

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography

With a strong flap of its massive wings, it takes flight.

But as I walked towards it, I could tell through my camera it was just cleaning. Blue Herons would walk near it, seagulls would fly over it. Nothing fazed it. Not even barking dogs.

I kept shooting. I moved slowly, deliberately and quietly. I stopped 20 yards from it. It noticed me and just watched, ruffled it’s feathers a few times and then took off.

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography

The massive bird slowly gains altitude.

Majestically, it opened it’s wings and with a few flaps, disappeared into a grove of trees near the waters of the bay.

Beautiful.

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography

With wind beneath its wings, it flies off to a nearby groves of trees.

Thank you for stopping by and reading. All comments are appreciated.

Paul Conrad

Pablo Conrad Photography

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