Eagles do the flip too(image heavy)

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Sorry if you guys are getting tired of eagles. But I think this set is kind of cool. No matter how many times I shoot them there is always something different to look forward to.

I seem to recall having seen someone here in the Cafe post an image of an eagle making the in flight transfer of a small fish from its feet to its beak. Well after many years I've never witnessed that. Until this past week. And even then I was unaware that it happened until I chimped my shots. And not only did the bird take the fish in its beak. It then flipped it around and swallowed it. But see for yourself...

These were shot from quite a distance. The images are all cropped to the same size so the relative size of the bird in the frame reflects the distance from the camera. Each image is about 1/3 of a DX frame. The entire sequence represents about 3 seconds in real time.

D850(crop mode)/500mm PF, handheld
1/1000s, f5.6, ISO1000

1) Incoming
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2) Talons out
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3) Strike. Notice like a good ball player they never take their eyes off the target until it is secure in their grasp.
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4) Got it!
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5) Making the switch
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6) Fish sideways in the beak
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7) The flip
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8) Fish head first
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9) Down the hatch.
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Not to detract from the great set of pictures, but I just read this on NPR: Bald Eagle Caught Elegantly ... Swimming?

Bald Eagles sure are interesting and capable birds!
We see them swimming quite often during salmon season. When they grab a fish that's too heavy to fly with they will hold on and swim it to shore. We've seen them swim half a mile. We try to keep out distance so I've never gotten images of them in the water. They are very vulnerable and will release the fish and fly if you get very close. Made that mistake once years ago. Someone told me(or I read) that they can't take off from the water but it's not true. I do have a series shot a few years back of one right after it drug the fish ashore. Their feather don't repel water so they are at risk when swimming in the cold water. And they look quite ragged when the make it to shore.

Here he/she is dragging a fair sized silver(coho) ashore. You can see how wet the bird is. That's probably and 8-10 lb fish.
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And victoriously standing astride the catch.
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No time wasted getting down to business before another bird tries to steal it.
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Wow, I always thought they landed with the fish and ate them on the ground!!
In my experience they normally do. But they are terrible thieves and will chase one another down and try to steal the catch. They are always on the lookout and are aware of other birds in the area. I suspect there was another bird around and this one was worried about it. Since the fish was so small it was able to swallow it whole and did so immediately. The salmon aren't running good yet and the birds are really hungry.
 

Commodorefirst

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Dan excellent series, and it might have been one of mine or perhaps the guys like Louis up in the Pacific NW who grabbed one of those “inflight sushi shots” as I call them. Well worth the big crops on that behavior. I know I have only grabbed it one time with a decent image and also was a huge crop. This was his second bite after tearing and eating a first bite. This is nearly a 100% crop.

https://wadedowdy.zenfolio.com/img/s/v-2/p102259436-6.jpg

Never apologize for posting your images of the same subjects, all are always well done and great nature shots. Appreciate your opportunities. Later on it may change. I had great eagle nest access in 05-07 because of a nest location, and have never had the same opportunities ever.

Thanks so much for sharing.
 
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Thanks for the comments, Wade. I think it may have been one of your shots that I remember. Believe me I do appreciate the opportunities that come along. Most of them don't just fall into the lap but require significant effort. I'm also fully aware that time is limited. We're not getting any younger and the day is coming that we'll be moving south and/or unable to get out and do the things we do now. But we've at least got this summer.... :D
 

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