In late 2019 I came upon a large nest while exploring the woods of the South Carolina Lowcountry. I decided to check back periodically to see if it was, as I suspected, a Bald Eagle nest. These are images I captured from December 2019 to March 2020.
I made a point to always stay a good distance from the nest in order to not disturb the family. Some of these captures look like I was very close, but I was using a 150-600mm telephoto lens with a 1.4x teleconverter, and cropped the images 1:1. Most are from at least a 1/4 mile away.
I have no doubt they always knew I was there, but my presence didn’t seem to bother them. It was a real thrill.
The proud parents to be: December 2019.
Sitting on eggs:
First image of a chick.
Adult bringing home a meal:
Heading out to hunt:
One stays with the nest, one hunts. Then they trade off:
Getting bigger, and changing color. At this point, both adults leave to hunt. One stayed in a nearby tree on occasion, keeping watch:
At this point, it was the beginning of March. I was trying to keep a closer eye on the nest as I knew they would fledge (learn to fly and leave the nest) soon. One day I came out, and the nest was empty. I sat in my usual spot for hours, but no sign of the adults or the juveniles. Had something happened to them? There was evidence of brush cutting in the area, and I was afraid that it had spooked the juveniles out of the nest before they could fly, and predators got them on the ground.
A few days later I came back, and waited some more. The nest was empty. I scanned the skies but there was nothing. Until…far off in the distance I caught a glimpse of one large bird, then another. As they got closer I could see it was the juvenile eagles. Apparently they saw me too, as they headed directly for me and circled overhead!
I like to think they were stopping by to say hello after watching me watch them for so many weeks. More likely, they were just curious youngsters. Regardless, I was ecstatic to see that they had made it.
Here they are, a new generation of majestic Bald Eagles.