Every once in a while, something happens and you wish you had a camera.
I guess it doesn’t happen to everyone today, since most people carry cell phones. But the other day, I missed out on a fantastic photo experience.
We’re waiting for a three-day window of sunshine and no rain for our backpacking trip in the Adirondack High Peaks over Mount Marcy, so I put on my backpack with 35 pounds inside and walk up and down the hill behind my house almost every day. After a 2-mile hike over the mountain and through the woods one day, I headed back home.
When I was getting near my pond, I noticed a bald eagle flying overhead. The big bird wasn’t very high up and circled back over the meadow on my side of the water.
Suddenly, the wide-winged, white-headed predator turned, tucked its wings and dove down towards the water. With a subtle splash, he hit the surface. His powerful wings pushed him back up into the air and his sharp talons tightly grasped a largemouth bass a little more than a foot in length. He flew over to the hedge row, landed on a branch and proceeded to eat the fish.
I have always known that bald eagles are fish-eaters. I have seen them along the sounds and rivers of Alaska and up and down the Susquehanna and Delaware rivers here at home. I watched one swoop down and try for a fish while I was trolling on Goodyear Lake for walleyes, but I never expected to see one grabbing a fish from my pond out here along Route 23. I thought the only birds eating my fish were those darn long-legged, spear-beaked, blue herons.
But you know what? I didn’t have a camera. I’m not sure I could have caught the action even if I had one hanging around my neck. It happened way too fast.