Bald Eagles Landing on Beach

I'm down at the low tide at Spanish Banks in Vancouver again. This is all very exciting, chasing eagles around trying to get a good photo, but I never know what I'm going to get. This time I decide not to head out directly to the sand bar where the fish are so plentiful. Rather, I linger in the shallows towards the east.

When I stepped off the beach onto the tidal flats I saw quite a few great blue heron directly before me. I thought a slight detour might be in order; the eagles like to hunt in the same spots as the heron, after all. Like I said, I never know what I'm going to get. I'm watching some heron, just sort of enjoying the warm sun while thinking I should really get moving to the sand bar when a motion to my left catches my attention.

(Click Images to Enlarge)

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I spin the camera around and snap a shot without even thinking. Imagine my surprise at see what I captured!

Excited by my success I push forward. The amazing thing about this place is that I am standing on sand that is normally three meters under water. Usually only the very top of the channel markers are visible, like little mini lighthouses to warn the freighters and other boat traffic in the harbour at English Bay not to come too close. Lucky for me the eagles like to perch on top of these, scanning the water for fish and the sky for competition.

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This fellow looks vaguely cross!

S/He doesn't stay long. I also move quickly to the sand bar. The tide doesn't stay out forever after all, eventually it washes over Spanish Banks, filling the tidal flats. I've already had to walk back through water up to my thighs. Slow going when you have to go on for a kilometer or so.

Once at the sand bar I spot a lovely eagle just walking along the sand as nice as can be. Kind of funny when you think about it, we expect them to fly everywhere.

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Check out those sharp talons!

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Eventually there are no more eagles, I guess they all ate their fill and flew back to the trees on shore. Before I head back myself I stop to get a few shots of a great blue heron. In the space of just a few moments this one catches three fish! No wonder there's so much wildlife activity around here.

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Not easily perturbed, the heron just keeps on going even as a couple of kayakers pass very close by.

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But it just flies calmly and cooly back to shore, dangling its delicious dinner in the breeze.

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Passes a bit closer to me . . .

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. . .. then flies on by.

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I'm left to walk back to the beach with a smile on my face. I can't wait to get out for more photos on another day!

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