Tuesday, February 9, 2010

That's not a Gull

It's a Golden Eagle!

Late yesterday afternoon I headed out in the snowstorm that was supposed to have cleared off at 10:00am. I wanted to locate and check out Erie Reservoir, one of a handful of small lakes a short drive from my work which have been noted for good gull flocks that rotate between them. The small lake I visited on Saturday in extreme northern Broomfield is not too distant from this area either, and probably shares a few common visitors amongst the groups of gulls. As I arrived late yesterday I found that in addition to it being very darkly overcast, snowy, and breezy that I was also without a working camera battery. I ventured out with just bins, and worked my way to the far side of the lake where there was some open water. I found that there were a good group of gulls, but without the leisure to study them in a still frame I focused on the waterfowl and tried to ignore the lack of insulation my thin work pants provided. While I didn't find the Barrow's Goldeneye that had been reported in the past I did find a Red-breasted Merganser. I finished my loop, keeping moving to remain warm, and headed home to do a bit of shoveling.

Today dawned clear and cold, as noted in my previous post, but was calm and really pleasant by lunch time. I parked and walked down to the lake, right at the open water and with the sun to my back. Just as I was dialing in the camera and getting ready to get my gull on they all flighted at once. Excited, I turned my eyes skyward to find what had spooked them. I'll take a raptor over gulls any day! As I watched I saw it approaching from the distance...

I was 99% sure that it was a Golden from that view, but I see them so rarely out here that I was hesitant at first. As it approached though any trace of a doubt vanished.

Getting a Golden Eagle on a low approaching pass with good lighting was a first for me. I know I will be back at Erie Res. while the ice lasts to get some gull IDs, but this return trip exceeded my expectations by far.

It is always nice to be rewarded for trying out a new site!

"Thanks Eagle, now go get your fill of gulls so the next time I am around I can try to learn which ones they are! Except of course for the rarities, leave them alone all together!"

1 comment:

  1. Great captures!!! Isn't it grand when you are surprised by such an event? I love all eagles, but the goldens are the toughest for me to capture.