Polish Raptors – the return
The last trip to Poland to photograph eagles in February was challenging. There is just no other way to describe sitting in a hide for 11 hours with no Golden Eagles. That’s why we appreciated our guests’ trust in that the autumn trip would be more successful. I’d visited the eagle site at the turn of October and November before, so I had a lot of faith in that eagles wouldn’t disappoint us this time. Having said, I felt the same about the winter trips, so I was just keeping my fingers crossed for the guests who decided to come again and try their luck at this time of the year.
The first morning came; fairly mild weather for this time of the year in Poland. We settled in our hide and personally, with some trepidation, we were awaiting the first ravens to attract the eagles. They came in big numbers. In turn, the hustle and bustle of ravens and magpies attracted the eagles who were circling the sky above the field and finally landed. Now, this is what I’m used to seeing in Poland! When eagles came, they came in numbers that made it difficult to separate them. There were over twenty of them squabbling over food, attacking each other- sometimes half-heartedly and sometimes meaning business. They kept us busy until about 1 pm when they flew off. We also had a brief visit from a golden eagle which to me was the first time I saw one on that site. He paid a brief visit, tried to intimidate the white tailed eagles and flew off. To me, having been to the site so many times this definitely was the highlight of the day.
The next two days didn’t disappoint either. Each day the birds came in good numbers, which ironically made it difficult to take a clean shot without some wings or heads being cut off in the frame. Admittedly, it’s a nice sort of problem to have! The golden eagle came again on the third day, and this time he was not going anywhere! He sat on the dead fox fighting off the white-tailed eagles fiercely. Needless to say, he was the winner every single time. Seeing a golden eagle next to the white-tailed ones made for a very good comparative exercise. The aggression and volatility the bird displayed when defending his meal was very impressive. I must admit that my beloved ‘bielik’ (Polish word for the white-tailed eagle) looks a bit dopey and simply not as smart as the golden eagle!
All this made the brief trip very successful. The clients who put their faith into visiting Marcin’s site again were very happy with the opportunities they had and happy with the images they took. It was a lesson yet again to be learnt: you just can’t predict nature!
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