A bald eagle soars above the open water below Fort Randall Dam.
Last year about this time, I literally lucked into a bald eagle photo that made South Dakota Magazine's last issue. So this weekend, I decided to actually seek out the the majestic bird of prey. Years ago when I worked at KSFY, we did a live shot from Fort Randall Dam, near Pickstown, SD and I remembered seeing a bald eagle watching shelter. I also did a little research online and found out that the eagles are quite shy of humans and their roosting areas are very protected (you can be fined considerably for "harassing" the birds). I also learned that they often feed early in the morning and cruise the open water below the dam. Not wanting a fine, I pretty much hung out at the eagle watching area from first light until about 11am and was rewarded with a few "flyover" photo opportunities. I didn't get a chance at many action photos, but I saw a lot of good action through my binoculars. I think the best way to get good bald eagle photos would be a combination of a very long lens, a hide, and a lot of patience and luck. Anyway, below are a few shots from the morning. Not bad for the first try... I guess... Hopefully next time I'll know what I'm doing a bit better. Click on a photo for a larger file to view and thanks for dropping by.
When I woke up there was freezing rain. It was an ice skating rink to get down to the eagle watching area. This shot is the only real color from the sun I saw all morning.
The coolest thing of the morning was when the eagles would come in low over the open water hunting. It didn't happen often but the times they did and got somewhat close, it was a sight to behold!
This adult eagle was in the protected nesting area further down the river. The shot was taken from quite a distance and I cropped the photo so one can see the eagle better. It is important to not disturb the eagles as they need to conserve energy in the winter time. Especially in the long, cold winters we have in South Dakota.