Sandhill Crane

A half decent day at Reifel this afternoon and I was surprised to hear the White-throated Sparrow was still around just beyond the entrance. While looking for it,

Rufous Hummingbird
Rufous Hummingbird

… this Rufous Hummingbird was frequenting a nearby tree top.

White-throated Sparrow
White-throated Sparrow

The White-throated Sparrow eventually popped out providing a brief photo opportunity.

The news of the day though was in regards to the Sandhill Cranes. After the passing last winter of the long time breeding male, the female has taken a new mate.

Sandhill Crane
Sandhill Crane

The new Sandhill Crane pair are using the same nesting site and the first egg appeared yesterday. This should put new arrivals sometime around Mother’s Day.

White-throated Sparrow

The weather definitely had an impact on the number of visitors at Reifel this afternoon when I showed up to help out on the trails. The continuing snowfall was also keeping a lot of the smaller birds busy looking for food.

Golden-crowned Sparrow
Golden-crowned Sparrow

This Golden-crowned Sparrow gave me a long look. Even they were approaching people looking for hand outs.

White-throated Sparrow
White-throated Sparrow

The White-throated Sparrow was active in its usual spot near the entrance,

Dark-eyed Junco
Dark-eyed Junco

… and this Dark-eyed Junco struck a nice pose on a snowy log. A fun day trying to get some of the little ones in the snow.

Bald Eagle

With a change in the weather forecasted for tomorrow, figured I should get out for a short walk in the sunshine this afternoon. I headed out to Reifel and on checking near the entrance,

White-throated Sparrow
White-throated Sparrow

… the White-throated Sparrow did pop out into the open a couple of times. I then made my way out the east and north dyke trails. On approaching the tower I noted an immature Bald Eagle in a tree across from it. So up I went with the hopes of getting some take off/landing or flight shots.

Bald Eagle
Bald Eagle

While I was on the camera photographing this bird I heard quite the commotion below me with ducks scattering. On looking up from the camera a different immature Bald Eagle had landed on the railing next to me with what was left of a duck and proceeded to finish off. At this point it way too close for my 400mm lens, so I resorted to my cell phone (Lumia 950XL) for this video.

After several minutes of video I chanced retrieving my camera and moving to the far side of the tower to get beyond my minimum focussing distance.

Bald Eagle
Bald Eagle

The Bald Eagle just kept on munching away unperturbed with my (and another couple that came up after seeing what happened) being there.

Bald Eagle
Bald Eagle

 This was a first for me being this close to a wild Bald Eagle (other than one time I stood by with an injured one waiting or O.W.L.)

I finished off with this close up video taken with the camera. Definitely not something that happens every day.