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.
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.
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.