Wednesday, March 5, 2014

What's That Up There?


 "Come out here now!" John said and, grabbing my camera, I followed him to the front porch.  He pointed to the hillside from whence came a confusion of turkey gabble and I could see various turkeys running from the open pasture into the woods.

"There was a big bird -- maybe an eagle," John said and as we watched, the magnificent creature soared into view -- over the trees and high into the sky to circle above our holler.


This picture below is what we could actually see and I stood, trying to follow its flight and capture it as best I could manage. I had my 18-200 mm lens racked out as far as it would go and could actually see through the viewfinder not much more than a dot -- a fast moving dot.   

All the rest of these pictures are blurry because they've been cropped really close in order for me to actually see the bird. At first I thought it was a Golden Eagle but that sure looks like a white head in the picture below. 

 However, a Bald Eagle's tail  should be all white . . . according to my bird book . . .
 A Golden Eagle has the black-tipped white tail -- and a 'golden wash' on the back of the head. . .

I sure don't know . . . any opinions out there?


Bald or Golden, I hope he/she stays around.


23 comments:

Sandra Parshall said...

It's a black vulture, Vicki. I'm surprised you don't see more of them.

Ms. A said...

I do believe it's an eagle and I'm sending a link on tail feathers, that you can copy and paste to your search bar.

http://jerryliguori.blogspot.com/2013/09/tails-of-golden-eagles.html

Merisi said...

My opinion: a magnificent bird and you did very well in capturing its flight!

Sam Hoffer @ My Carolina Kitchen said...

Whatever it is, it sure is magnificent in flight. Way to go John, grab that camera and call Vicki.
Sam

June said...

I want it to be an immature bald eagle, but I think maybe Sandra's right. I've never seen a black vulture, but the flight feathers look suspiciously evenly long for an eagle. Keep watching though, because I would love to know that you have eagles around.
The first time we saw one here was on a New Year's Day just after we'd made our move to God's Country on the Hill, and we felt as if we'd seen MAGIC!

Anonymous said...

I've always heard that when the wing feathers are spread like fingers, it's a vulture.
Deana the queena

KarenB said...

That last picture looks exactly like the juvenile golden pictured here: http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Golden_Eagle/id

It does look a bit like the turkey vultures so commonly seen in my neck of the woods, but its wings and tail are not quite the same outline.

B. Rogers, Living in Black Mountain said...

What a great question for the day..eagle which elicits praise, or vulture which gives me a sense of dread. The pics are absolutely fabulous...good shooting!

Brian Miller said...

either way it is a beautiful bird....so regal and majestic...i def could not tell the difference...just appreciate...smiles.

Martin Hodges said...

So difficult to capture, Vicki. I have the same lens. When I bought it, I thought it would fine for my needs. I might need to think again. Who knows, perhaps your magnificent visitor will oblige with a close-up at some point?

Vicki Lane said...

We have lots of vultures and I'm reasonably sure this wasn't one. My Peterson's bird guide suggests that this is a juvenile Golden -- all that white on the tail which a vulture doesn't have.

The bird guide also shows that eagles' wing feathers also spread like wing feathers.

Thanks, Ms. A -- that looks right.

Anonymous said...

If you're interested in bald eagles, you might like the link below of the bald eagle nest at Berry College in Rome, GA. Close up nest view of a pair currently raising a week old eaglet. A second egg didn't hatch but the first one is growing well. You'll need to cut and paste as I'm not sure how to make this a link:
http://www.berry.edu/eaglecam/

Lynne in GA

Anonymous said...

If you're interested in bald eagles, you might like the link below of the bald eagle nest at Berry College in Rome, GA. Close up nest view of a pair currently raising a week old eaglet. A second egg didn't hatch but the first one is growing well. You'll need to cut and paste as I'm not sure how to make this a link:
http://www.berry.edu/eaglecam/

Lynne in GA

NCmountainwoman said...

Wonderful. I also grab the camera every time my husband says, "Come out here now."

Jim Egerton said...

My Bet is it's a bald eagle. I have some pictures and it sure looks like one. Here is a hint or two when you have full sun and the sun is behind you, say from 8:30 to 11:00 am. put you camera in manual mode and shutter speed at 1/2500 of a sec. Aperture: 5.6F ISO 400. This stops any movement and nails a good photograph.

Your pictures are remarkable with what light you had to work with. It is all about the light. Just shoot along your shadow and you can't go wrong. Of course if it is a cloudy day all bets are off.

Gwen said...

Beautiful pictures, but be careful what you wish for... your chickens might not appreciate an eagle, vulture or hawk in the neighborhood!

FOLKWAYS NOTEBOOK said...

What a thrill to see an eagle. They are magnificent! -- barbara

Vicki Lane said...

Great links! The one Karen posted has a picture that's convinced me.

http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Golden_Eagle/id

Evidently we are in their winter range but they're not likely to be building a nest in these parts.

Lise said...

I'm a fan of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology for identifying and learning about birds, and I agree, it is a match for a juvenile Golden. It's absolutely magnificent that you have this beauty on your farm, I hope you have many more opportunities to take and share photos of him/her.

Tammy said...

Great on the fly (hahaha) pictures Vickie. Looks like some sort of eagle, but mostly I'd base that assumption on how the turkeys were acting. I'm pretty sure they wouldn't carry on like that if it were a vulture. We have bald eagles around here now--more so in the winter, but it's still pretty awesome to see them.

Tammy

Tammy said...

Great on the fly (hahaha) pictures Vickie. Looks like some sort of eagle, but mostly I'd base that assumption on how the turkeys were acting. I'm pretty sure they wouldn't carry on like that if it were a vulture. We have bald eagles around here now--more so in the winter, but it's still pretty awesome to see them.

Tammy

Vicki Lane said...

Good point, Tammy. We often have vultures circling and the turkeys aren't concerned. This bird, however, had them running for cover.

Star said...

It doesn't have the head of a vulture, does it? I would go with eagle but we don't have those over here in England, maybe some in Scotland. You saw an eagle and I saw a beautiful grey heron this morning, as I sat in bed and drank my tea. Aren't we lucky...