The Humble Eagles

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Phocal
Phocal Senior Member • Posts: 2,330
The Humble Eagles
4

First let me explain the title......................

The eagles nest is in the town of Humble, Texas which happens to be the same town I live in. The town is pronounced Umble aka a silent H, just like you will hear people call Houston...Uston. Not sure what native Texans have against the letter H.

So the title should be read as Umble because there is nothing humble about the majestic Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus Leucocephalus)

Anyways.................................

handheld, only crop is going to 16:9 and some additional from leveling because I was pretty crooked (what can I say, I am recovering from the flu)

Is that really an Bald Eagle nest built on the top of a metal pole?

How did those eagles manage to build that wooden platform to build the nest on?

Wait...............they also used wire to hold it all together?

This pair of eagles have been living in Humble for about 10 years now and their original nest (shown in the photo above) was in a dead tree. The power company had been planning on removing the tree because it could have fallen on some power lines, but before they could the eagles built a nest in it. In 2013 they had finally gotten permission to remove the nest and place it on the top of this metal pole. Local paper article about it - CenterPoint moves huge nest to save bald eagles in Humble

The nest sits pretty deep on private property and is actually about 75 yards from the home of the property owners. They have always been very restrictive in who they allow on the property to photograph the eagles and I really don't blame them.

On my way to Dallas last week I stopped in a parking lot near the property to see if the eagles had returned yet. I live in a strange place. Where I live seems to be right on the line that divides the summer/winter and year around range of a lot of species of birds. Because I live on the line I see a combination of everything. In the Houston area we have Bald Eagles that live here year around and some that only come in the winter/spring to have and raise their young. It is rather odd living where I do, but after you figure the different species out it is really great and frustrating at the same time. It's also on one of the biggest migration routes in the country, so a great place to live if you like bird photography.

Anyways....................

This pair is the variety that comes for the winter/spring and then goes north for the summer, can't blame them (summers here are brutal). When I stopped and was watching an eagle in the nest this lady came up to me and started talking, I was in the parking lot for a complex of small office buildings. We were chatting and I assumed she was someone who worked at one of the offices when she reveals that she is the owner of the property. One thing led to another and the next thing I know I have permission to enter the property and photograph them at will. Needless to say I was super excited to get that permission and can't wait to document them this winter/spring. The best part is they are only about 10 miles from the house, so I can easily make multiple trips a week over there.

While talking she tells me they never used that nest for the young but do seem to enjoy sitting there. The real nest is a bit deeper on their property and not visible from the road. She says I can get a good view of the nest and I tell her that I will take photos of them in the nest but what I am really after are photos of them hunting. They have two fairly large ponds or small lakes on the property from when the property was a gravel pit and that is where she watches them hunt all the time. I had suspected they hunt there and maybe in the San Jacinto river which is about 1/2 mile from the nest. I was actually planning on spending some time on that part of the river this winter to see if they did hunt over there. Now, I don't have to waist my time and can setup right on the lakes they do hunt in. I learned today that they also have large automatic fish feeders on both lakes to feed the fish. FYI, if I had lakes on my property and eagles you can bet I would stock and feed those fish so the eagles would not have any excuse to live someplace else.

Since my return from Dallas I have been sick and today was the first day I have left the house. My favorite coffee shop is near the eagles and I needed coffee so decided to bring the camera along. I am not up to going out shooting yet but I wanted to drive the property and get an idea of what I had to work with. When I got there the eagle was in the old nest and I took the above photograph. While I was walking around trying to locate the new nest he flew to this tree and I captured this shot.

handheld

The above shot is a huge crop for me and not the best photograph, but I am excited to have gotten this opportunity to document them this winter/spring. The photograph was taken from 320 feet per exif and is cropped down to 3301x2201 in 3:2 aspect ratio. So way beyond what I would ever crop a photo to. I will say I am a bit surprised by how much detail the lens and TC captured from that distance. Not enough for me to call it a print worthy shot but beyond what I really expected.

I will be able to get closer, but I was in shorts and sandals (it was 85 today) and not up to trekking thru the woods. I located the nest but couldn't get a view of it without trekking thru the woods. Actually the eagle flying to the tree is what helped me locate the nest.

I am going to go back this week to talk with the property owner. She has all the data that Texas Parks and Wildlife have given her about the eagles. They have estimated their size and age, so I want that information for tagging my photos. I also want to ask about permission to throw my kayak in the water to photograph from. Not sure if it will be needed, but like to keep all my options open.

Now the sad part...............

I think they have given me (and a few other local photographers) permission because Hurricane Harvey destroyed their house. With them not living back there it's not a disturbance to their daily life and it will be a year before they are living back there. So I am super happy for this opportunity and sad that it took so much devastation for me to get the opportunity.

She did show me some photos a photographer they have let on the property for a few years took. Honestly? I can do way better and plan to give them some great shots. I plan to give them a huge print on metal for their office...........................now just to get that amazing shot to print on metal.

Needless to say..................

Get ready to see a lot of eagle photos from me over the next 4 months.

Regards,

Ronnie

edit - I should add that I was right, she was someone from one of the offices because they have an office in that complex. It's also the office I am going to print a huge metal print for............

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