Unexpected Raptor – A Bald Eagle Landed

This is my wetland front yard; a Douglas Fir stand is near the edge at the opposite side.

It’s not unusual for an occasional Bald Eagle to soar above these trees.

But, when one swoops down and lands... that’s unexpected.

A group of ducks had been paddling around on a small pond of water below the trees. My attention and camera were focused intently on them, when, in a blink… they seemed to vanish.  I wondered, “Why did they scatter so suddenly?” 

As a massive fir branch bounced under the weight of an unexpected arrival… the answer was immediately clear… A Bald Eagle had landed…

My telephoto lens zoomed upward and caught the intent watch of this beautiful young raptor as it settled into a vigilant perching position.

The regal bird remained until it seemed satisfied that no duck was likely to come forward. Without a prospect for a meal here, he took off with a hefty push.

The whole while I kept thinking,  ” How lucky am I to have had my camera, with the appropriate lens attached, in hand?”

Unexpected, indeed!

Adult Bald Eagles have white heads and tails with dark brown bodies and wings. Their legs and bills are bright yellow. Immature birds have mostly dark heads and tails; their brown wings and bodies are mottled with white in varying amounts. Young birds attain adult plumage in about five years.

Background Information from All About Birds

The plumage on the Bald Eagle I photographed matched that of a young bird at about four years of age.

This post was inspired by Len-Artists Challenge #30: Unexpected  (Thank you, LEYA)


  1. That is pretty cool. 😎 The first time I saw a Bald Eagle in the wild was many years ago while fishing with my Uncle Charlie. It was definitely something to see one flying low over a lake. To photograph in one’s front yard is really special.

    1. Patrick, I’m happy to hear you have had an experience sighting a Bald Eagle. When we have these close encounters… they are truly memorable.

    1. It is a very exhilarating feeling! Confession- I knew I was so excited that getting the shot of him taking off from the branch would probably be missed because my adrenaline was pumping … I was right😉

  2. Sometimes we make our own luck, being in the right place at the right time (or so we may think; I like to believe that a Higher Hand has smiled on me when moments like these come my way).

    1. Thank you, Leya. I was delighted when the challenge category for the week was revealed. Your choice couldn’t have been better for me and this experience!

    1. That’s true, Ken.The beak and talons on this guy are impressive. But, in another context. I do hope this little watershed area will become part of his territory. Our natural area habitats are shrinking and becoming more and more dramatically fragmented by new construction of both homes and commercial development projects.

  3. That was exciting, more so for the ducks that they excited flew off before they become dinner. Wow, what a great zoomer camera you have. Love the face of the raptor!

    1. If dinner had been captured… to see Nature in action would have added another layer to “unexpected.” I’m not sure how that would have felt… I’ve seen raptors snatch fish, but never another bird.

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