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Golden Eagle

A wary, watchful Golden Eagle

It has been a while since I have seen my friend – in fact it has been since early spring. I was thinking about her this morning and hoping that she reappears soon. On this particular day back in April, she put on a nice little show for me. There were plenty of flight shots but she also took a break on one of her favorite overlooks, a pole on a hillside, where she kept close watch on the goings on.

If you’ve never seen a golden, you are missing an extraordinary treat. They are clearly just gorgeous but more impressive is their sheer size.

A Golden Eagle keeps watch from its perch in Boulder County, Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

A Golden Eagle keeps watch from its perch in Boulder County, Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

Golden Eagle takes to the skies

Not the usual type of eagle I post on Fridays but this one is certainly worthy of sharing. Honestly, I can’t believe I have never shared it before now.

Taken back in March, this massive, gorgeous Golden Eagle was hanging out in one of its favorite spots in Colorado’s Front Range foothills. After giving me a great series of shots of it posing, it then launched into the air yielded a host of images as it took flight.

These eagles are one of the largest and fastest raptors in North America. With wingspans that can exceed seven feet across and capable of speeds to 200mph, they are nothing short of impressive. It is little wonder that they are the most common official national animal in the world with Albania, Germany, Austria, Mexico, and Kazakhstan all choosing it to represent them.

Have a great weekend, everyone and TGIF!

A Golden Eagle takes to the skies of Boulder County, Colorado.  (© Tony’s Takes)

A Golden Eagle takes to the skies of Boulder County, Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

A Golden launch

I have been very fortunate in that the last two weekends have delivered some extraordinary photo opportunities for me. That is a good thing because I had gone a few weeks with excursions that had been disappointing.

This absolutely gorgeous Golden Eagle helped turn the corner for me. I initially spotted it far off in a field in the Colorado Front Range foothills and moved on to see what else I could find. A friend called and let me know that the raptor had moved itself into a nice spot so I hurried back.

After spending some time photographing it in a tree, it gave me a nice flight series and relocated to this pole on a hillside. There is kept watch, seemingly looking for an opportunity to dine. Spotting something in the distance, it launched into the air, extending its legs and spreading those massive wings.

These eagles are one of the largest and fastest raptors in North America. With wingspans that can exceed seven feet across and capable of speeds to 200mph, they are nothing short of impressive. It is little wonder that they are the most common official national animal in the world with Albania, Germany, Austria, Mexico, and Kazakhstan all choosing it to represent them.

A Golden Eagle takes flight in the Colorado foothills.  (© Tony’s Takes)

A Golden Eagle takes flight in the Colorado foothills. (© Tony’s Takes)

Gorgeous young Golden

Seeing a Golden Eagle in any setting from any distance is pretty darned exciting given their relative rarity. Having one that is so comfortable with you that you can walk within 10 yards of it is a treat that few experience and so I count myself blessed to have had this encounter.

This juvenile was perched in a tree and, likely due to its relatively young age and inexperience, had decided being around humans wasn’t so bad. It allowed me to capture a huge number of pictures, all while it sat perched. I waited for an hour and it never did take flight, preferring just to relax and take in what was a gorgeous Colorado day.

This was the first time I have seen a juvenile Golden in person and it definitely had a different ‘look’ to it than an adult. Its overall plumage was quite mottled rather than the solid, dark brown color of an adult and its golden mane also displayed a variety of shades.

Scroll down to view the complete series.

A juvenile Golden Eagle leans into the wind while perched in Longmont, Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

A juvenile Golden Eagle leans into the wind while perched in Longmont, Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

Golden Eagle on the hunt for Freedom Friday

I of course normally post pics of the ‘bald’ variety of this type of bird to close out the workweek but today I make an exception. I came across this gorgeous raptor and I had an absolutely amazing encounter with it that I want to share.

Initially perched on a pole soon after sunrise, after a little while it launched right toward me giving me some nice flight shots, including this one as it crested the hill between us.

The look of determination on its face, the golden light, the dried grass below and the blue sky above make for a pretty cool capture. I wish it had waited till the sun was up a bit more as my gear struggles in dim light and that shows in the pics but I won’t complain (too much).

Taken in Boulder County, Colorado.

A Golden Eagle flies above the grasses of the Colorado foothills in Boulder County. (© Tony’s Takes)

A Golden Eagle flies above the grasses of the Colorado foothills in Boulder County. (© Tony’s Takes)

A glorious Golden Eagle

I was chatting with a fellow photographer the other day and he mentioned how he had yet to get pictures of a Golden Eagle. I in turn replied I had only seen them a few times but on one occasion did manage some nice captures. I showed them to him on my phone and it occurred to me that I previously shared only one pic of the series here. So…. Here is another.

This was taken on an absolutely bone-chillingly cold late December morning last year in Adams County, Colorado. The sun had only been up for a brief time and temperatures were in the single digits. My friend, Bill, initially spotted it and called me.

Meeting at the location, we opted to approach on foot, being very deliberate and only moving forward a few feet at a time. This worked well and the massive raptor gave us a number of fantastic poses and flight shots over the next half hour.

The one drawback was that we were miserably cold afterwards – I couldn’t hardly move my fingers and was shivering violently. I couldn’t get back to my truck fast enough! 😉

A glorious Golden Eagle perches on a utility pole in Adams County, Colorado.  (© Tony’s Takes)

A glorious Golden Eagle perches on a utility pole in Adams County, Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

After a golden sunrise, a Golden Eagle surprises

Sometimes luck and chance play the biggest part in a very cool wildlife encounter and that was the case with this one.

I was in Longmont, Colorado and on a whim went to an area west of the city. I was about to turn around when I spot a large, dark bird in a tree next to the road, initially dismissing it as ‘just a hawk.’ As I drove by, I glanced at it and upon seeing its golden mane and its large size, I knew it was certainly not a hawk.

Quickly making a U-turn I approached slowly and much to my delight, the eagle totally ignored me and continued to sit perched in the tree. Lighting was tough as it was backlit and there were strong shadows from the tree’s leaves and branches. When it did finally take off it went down the opposite side of the tree and landed way out in a field so there weren’t any opportunities for flight shots.

Nevertheless, it isn’t often you get a chance to get pictures of one of these magnificent raptors so I was happy as heck.

A Golden Eagle endures a windy morning near Longmont, Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

A Golden Eagle endures a windy morning near Longmont, Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

Golden Eagle takes a head on flight path

Sometimes you just have to trust your instincts. The day after Christmas I was out northeast of Denver looking for subjects. I spot this dark-colored raptor high on a utility pole and after glancing at it I say to myself, “Kind of looks like a Golden Eagle but it’s just a juvenile Bald Eagle.”

Given the poor lighting and distance I quickly move on. Later on I run into my friend, Bill, and we talk about the sighting, both agreeing it was a young Bald Eagle. A while later he calls me, “Tony, I think you need to come look at this eagle again. It may be a golden.”

Very skeptically I drive to the spot and through my lens I take a closer look. The eagle, which had insisted on facing straight forward before, turns its head. A golden mane!

Bill and I excitedly start snapping pictures as Golden Eagles are a rarity on the Colorado plains – this was in fact only the third I had seen in my life at that time.

After a while the golden decided it was time to move on and launched – straight at us! Sadly the lighting was horrible making for dull, colorless photos but the experience was grade A.

As luck would have it, the very next day Bill and I found what was likely the same bird under much better weather conditions – images which I shared last month. But, this day’s encounter served as a lesson learned – Be darn sure what you are looking at is what you think it is before you dismiss it. It could have very well been my only opportunity to get images of this gorgeous raptor.

Scroll down to view the complete gallery of our encounter with this beautiful raptor.

A Golden Eagle takes flight on the plains of Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

A Golden Eagle takes flight on the plains of Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

Golden Eagle makes unusual appearance on the plains

It isn’t too often you find these gorgeous birds out on the plains and I have only seen them a handful of times at all. This past weekend though, good fortune struck not once, but twice.

I initially got pictures of one on Saturday but the lighting was poor leading to disappointing images. Yesterday I returned to the same area and with gorgeous, clear blue skies got some great pics. I could not be happier and truly appreciate my friend, Bill, telling me he had spotted it.

Here in Colorado, Golden Eagles are more likely to be found in the foothills and mountains than on the plains. They are very large birds with wingspans over 6 feet across and very fast and maneuverable having been clocked at nearly 200mph in a dive!

Images taken in Adams County, Colorado.  Scroll down to view the complete gallery.

A Golden Eagle takes flight in Adams County, Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

A Golden Eagle takes flight in Adams County, Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

Golden Eagle flyby

An absolutely fabulous surprise on my afternoon drive today. I spotted a dark spot in a tree where Bald Eagles are known to frequent. As I was watching I am thinking this is no baldy and it was too big to be a hawk. I was absolutely ecstatic when it took to the air and I could see it was clearly a Golden Eagle.

Tough mid-afternoon lighting and the fact it was a good ways away made for less than great images but it was a lot of fun to see. I’ve only seen a golden twice before as they are relatively uncommon here in Colorado – at least in the plains areas where I frequent.

A Golden Eagle performs a flyby in Adams County, Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

A Golden Eagle performs a flyby in Adams County, Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

A Golden Eagle performs a flyby in Adams County, Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

A Golden Eagle performs a flyby in Adams County, Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

A Golden Eagle performs a flyby in Adams County, Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

A Golden Eagle performs a flyby in Adams County, Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)