Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge - Apr 28, 2024

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Jax Eagle Pix Blog

Bald Eagle Blog, where I share my regular encounters and photos of Bald Eagles.

Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge - Apr 28, 2024
Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge - Apr 28, 2024

Greetings everyone.  I hope that you all are doing well.  I’m back from my annual trip to Bombay Hook Wildlife Refuge near Dover, DE.  I’ve been going for a few years.  This has been an amazing place to observe and photograph huge numbers of Bald Eagles that congregate there during the annual Shad Run to feed and go about their business.

Needless to say, I was very eager for the trip and hoped to come away with lots of great photos!  

Things didn’t exactly go as planned.  In previous years, I basically had to find out what time low tide was, show up at that time, set my chair down and start snapping photos.  That wasn’t to be the case this year.

I arrived around 3:00pm on Tuesday and the wind was howling.  I’d estimate it was 35-40 mph.  It was so strong,  I really couldn’t get out of the car.  I waiting through low tide at 5:30 and then stayed another 2 hours.  Zero eagles feeding.  Not one.  

Feeling very discouraged I headed to the hotel.

The weather for the morning was calling for showers and I honestly considered canceling the rest of my trip and heading for home.  At some point during my evening, I thought of something that a photography instructor had said to me.

When you’re out on a photo shoot and things don’t go as planned,  'Be willing to improvise and photograph  what nature gives you'.

With that thought in mind, I made a decision to stay for the remainder of the trip and ‘Photograph what nature gives me’.

After a good nights sleep, I headed back to the refuge in the morning.  I wasn’t there five minutes and found an eagle perched just off the road.  He gave me a few photos, then a few minutes later, I found an adult and a juvie perched together.  The day was off to a great start!

My first encounter of the trip - Early morning Day #2

Adult & Juvie hanging out on what was a very popular perch for eagles


I spent most of my day just wandering around the refuge, seeing what I could find with no plans or time constraints.  I did a couple short hikes.  I chatted up a few other photographers and really just had a peaceful relaxing day and came away with a few good photos.

Around 6:00, I decided to call it a day and head back to my hotel.  As I was leaving, I saw a beautiful adult Bald Eagle sitting on the very top of an evergreen tree.  He was bathed in the most beautiful warm golden hour light.  I snapped a few photos and decided I’d wait a few minutes and see if I could capture him flying off.

My first encounter with this eagle



He spent a great deal of time vocalizing which I enjoyed photographing

Well 15 minutes came and went, then half an hour and he was still sitting there.  My arms were screaming from my continued holding the camera to my eye.  Finally, after about an hour, he gave me an indication that he was ready to fly and took off.  I got off about 20 shutter clicks which were perfect!

This encounter was an ideal ending to a wonderful day.

 

I got back to the refuge the next morning a little after 6:00am.  I was treated with a beautiful sunrise and was blessed in being able to share it with an eagle I’d seen the day before.

An incredible experience to share the sunrise with this eagle


I just wandered around for a few hours and got to observe some more eagles along with some osprey, herons, and a huge male wild turkey strutting his stuff.  I also saw the biggest red fox I’d ever seen.

I decided to call it a trip around 10:00am and head for home.

While the trip wasn’t what I was expecting, it did turn out to be a successful trip and I came home with lots of photos I was very happy with.

So the advice my teacher gave me worked out. When things don’t go as planned, Photograph what Nature gives you’.

Below are some additional photos that I took on the trip.










I saw several Osprey.  They were constantly on the look out for food.


This might have been the biggest fox I've ever seen.  It was huge!!




























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