Gracing The Skies With Majesty

While I was at Huffman MetroPark three days ago, looking for eagles and admiring the five migrating Mute Swans that have been spending some time on the lake, I noticed a large, rather well-antlered Whitetail buck casually crossing the entrance road. Because it was 11:00 in the morning and a fairly sunny day, I took advantage of the opportunity and tried to catch a few images of the big boy just strolling through the trees. He proved himself to be a bit more elusive in the leafless woodland than I had anticipated. At one point as I followed him through the trees along the roadway, I unknowingly walked to within five feet of  a resting doe. She jumped and so did I. (Maybe she was the focus of the big buck’s daytime excursion?) The wandering deer led me to the upper parking lot where the eagle story begins. (You knew there had to be an eagle story in here somewhere,)

As I arrived at the upper lot I met a gentleman who was returning to his car. He was carrying a camera with quite a long lens. As he placed his camera on the driver’s seat of his car I asked if he had seen any eagles on the lake. He explained that he had seen the swans and numerous other waterfowl but had seen no eagles. As we chatted I learned that he was from out-of-town and was hoping that the rumors he had heard about Bald Eagles nesting in the area were true and would have provided him with the opportunity to photograph a wild eagle, a personal goal which so far had been unmet. We talked for several more minutes and I gave him a few pointers as to the best times and places to enhance the odds of meeting that goal. He said again that he would love to see them sometime. I pointed through the bare branches of the nearby treetops and asked, “How about now?”

There was Cindy lazily circling above the lake just a few hundred feet away. As he hurriedly reached into his car to retrieve his camera I added that Jim would not be far behind as it is courting season and they are always together. As if on cue, Jim appeared. (I love it when that happens!) As both of our camera shutters began nervously clicking away, I heard several, “Oh, man!” comments and saw the smile on his face. For around ten minutes we watched as they slowly danced with each other across the skies. For a while they were harassed by a pair of swooping Red Tail Hawks until the eagles had finally had enough and flipped over on their backs, presenting their talons to the descending annoyances.

When the eagles had drifted away the stranger eagerly reviewed the digital images captured in his camera and sighed, “Man,  I’m glad that I didn’t leave earlier!”

As I drove away I thought again of the familiar scene that had just unfolded before me. I never tire of witnessing the moment when someone sees these magnificent, wild creatures for the very first time. I cannot recall his name, but I will never forget his expression. I have seen it so often on so many different faces over the last four years and I still feel it so frequently on my own face whenever Jim and Cindy spread those magnificent wings and grace the skies with majesty.

Published in: on November 16, 2012 at 7:23 pm  Comments (1)  

One CommentLeave a comment

  1. So glad the eagles are well!!. I smiled as you told the story of the photographer who almost missed Jim and Cindy.What a wonderful chance for him and so lucky you were there. Please keep posting updates on our eagles. Love hearing about them! Thanks eaglejim. Polly.

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