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Bald Eagles are not uncommon at the Wallkill River National Wildlife Refuge, which spans over NW New Jersey and across the border into Pine Island and Warwick, New York.

The Eagle can be spotted perched in a tree from far away.  Once you know it’s there, it’s just a matter of how close you may actually get to see it.

The weather was cool and crisp and no one else was around.  I approached very slowly, stopping occassionaly, and thinking, “I just need to clear this last tree for a clear shot”.

Well, it was my lucky day!  It usually flies off at this point.


The Canadian Geese were honking away, taking off, flying over, splashing around nearby.  The Eagle was unphased.

Then, it decided time was up – time to find some breakfast!

Bald Eagle takeoff
Bald Eagle takeoff
Bald Eagle takeoff

While the Eagle soared over the refuge, I decided to stay put for a few minutes.  Glad I did – it was on it’s way back!

bald eagle flight

And now for the coolest shot of the day – I just love how the Eagle puts out it’s huge talons to grab onto the branch!

bald eagle landing

Since it returned, I decided to try and get a little closer.  I fumbled around for my 1.4x extender and it seemed to take an eternity to get it onto the camera body – my hands were shaking nervously to “not blow it”!

After a minute, everything was in place and I got a few more shots.  Here it is looking towards me.  

bald eagle with ext

After a few more minutes, it flew to the nearby nest to join it’s mate.  They “cuddled” for a moment or two and eventually took off over over the Wallkill River.

What a morning!


Camera settings

Title shot was 1/800, f/5.6 ISO 200; 400mm

Following shots were 1/1250, f/5.6 ISO 200-320.  I kept the ISO on Auto since it was clear and ISO was low.

Final shot with 1.4x extender was 1/1250, f/8, ISO 640.

Most of my gear is listed here.

Hope you enjoyed!

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