Have you ever had an opportunity to watch bald eagles battle for territory and salmon dinner? If not, you must add visiting the North Fork of the Nooksack River during spawning season to your list - which is right now and will likely continue through the holidays. You don't have to be a photographer to enjoy the spectacle. Just seeing them in action is something to behold. I love watching eagles catch Kokanee at Wolf Lodge Bay at Lake Coeur d' Alene but that almost seems too civilized by comparison. The Nooksack is a wild river and the eagles act their part. I made the trip north on Monday morning, arriving with the sun and boy was I rewarded. In about three hours, I had taken 1,100 pictures before the action slowed down after the eagles had eaten their morning fill. It's hard to pick out what pictures to show and I still haven't made it through them all, but following is one series that is fun. It shows an adult attacking a juvenile while another eagle looks on and guards the prize salmon laying on the gravel bar.
The adult threatened the 2 or 3 year old juvenile from above but appears surprised when the juvenile rose from below to challenge it.
The mate of the adult attacking eagle can be seen guarding the salmon.
Yikes, this youngster is big and nasty, likely a female from it's size. Time to exit.
Look at those talons.
Bye bye. The adult appears to be a male, judging from it's smaller size apparent in this photo. So many action photos of these beautiful birds and these really aren't the best but they do tell the story of my morning. So much fun watching them. More threat than anything in their actions. Talons out and threatening but I didn't see any damage done or much physical contact.
To get to the Nooksack is a long drive. Easiest way is to drive to Bellingham and go east on the Mt. Baker Highway. When you reach the town of Deming, continue along and look for signs to Mosquito Lake Road on your right. There is a drive in restaurant here. Turn right and follow Mosquito Lake Road for about 1/4 mile and you will see a bridge crossing the Nooksack. Park here and you are bound to see plenty of photographers on the bridge or just past it. They will be more than happy to help you out.
Good luck and here's another pic showing one of many scenes your will see here.