Friday, 12 April 2013

Eagle Cruise

Around 4AM of March 3rd which was the day that we planned to go for a boat trip, I got a phone call from the boat company saying that the boat will leave at 7AM instead of 5AM due to the bad weather. By 7AM we were all sitting in the boat waiting to depart. The weather was extremely cloudy and it was still considerably dark even at 7AM. After sitting in the cabin for a while waiting for all customers to arrive, we slowly departed from Rausu port out into the Sea of Okhotsk. As we were leaving the port, something quite miraculous happened as the first sun ray began to shine down upon the tip of Mt. Rausu. None of us  initially expected to see any sunlight on that day.

Adult Steller's Sea-Eagle

Adult Steller's Sea-Eagle

Adult White-tailed Eagle

Adult Steller's Sea-Eagle

Stealing the perch

Adult Steller's Sea-Eagle

The unexpected sunrise


Adult Steller's Sea-Eagle with Carrion Crow

Adult Steller's Sea-Eagle with a juvenile and adult White-tailed Eagles

Adult Steller's Sea-Eagle calling

As we arrived at the main drift ice concentration some kilometers away from Rausu and the boat guy began to throw out some fish scraps, the eagles and gulls began to arrive from every direction. We enjoyed taking photos of the eagles under the beautiful morning light which turned the ice into bluish colour and the mountains into pink, orange and purple. After a while, the sun finally broke through the thick clouds and everything turned even brighter. It was really something unexpected.

The sun's now shining brightly.

Adult Steller's Sea-Eagle

Adult Steller's Sea-Eagle

Adult Steller's Sea-Eagle

Adult White-tailed Eagle

Juvenile White-tailed Eagle

They were close.

Adult White-tailed Eagle

Just landed

Juvenile White-tailed Eagle

Adult Steller's Sea-Eagle

Adult breeding Slaty-backed Gull

Second calender-year Slaty-backed Gull

First year Slaty-backed Gull

There were noticeably fewer Glaucous and Glaucous-winged Gulls than the last time I was here in 2010. I guess some of them might have already begun to migrate back. Most of the gulls were the resident Slaty-backed Gull. They were so tame that at one point they even come and take the fish scrap right from our hand. I tried looking for some other interesting gull but couldn't find any.

Eagles, gulls and crows with Mt. Rausu in the background

Steller's Sea-Eagles and White-tailed Eagles together with Mt. Rausu

Calling adult Steller's Sea-Eagle

My personal favourite; the foreground was created by a flying by Slaty-backed Gull.

Subadult Steller's Sea-Eagle

Adult Steller's Sea-Eagles on their throne

And a close-up!

Immature White-tailed Eagles

Subadult Steller's Sea-Eagle

Landing adult White-tailed Eagle

Adult White-tailed Eagle

Adult Steller's Sea-Eagles

Don't mess with my food!

Adult Steller's Sea-Eagle

Adult Steller's Sea-Eagle

Adult Steller's Sea-Eagle with a curious Large-billed Crow

Adult and immature White-tailed Eagles

They constantly got into a fight.

Juvenile Steller's Sea-Eagle in flight

Landing subadult Steller's Sea-Eagle

Adult Steller's Sea-Eagle

Adult Steller's Sea-Eagle against the pale blue sky

Too close to fit into a frame

Interesting to see how they carry the fish differently from Osprey.

We stayed around the drift ice taking photos of eagles until around 8:30AM then the boat began to return to Rausu port. Even though it was such a short period of time, we all almost completely filled our memory cards. We actually booked for the boat trip for 2 days but it later turned out that the weather was even worse on the next day as the snow storm began to hit the area almost right after we arrived back at the port., and the boat trip had to be cancelled. We realised that we were really lucky to be able to go out and even see the sun on that day.

Adult Slaty-backed Gull in breeding plumage

First calender-year Slaty-backed Gull

First calender-year Glaucous Gull

Subadult Steller's Sea-Eagle

Subadult Steller's Sea-Eagle

Landing juvenile White-tailed Eagle

Landing juvenile White-tailed Eagle

Juvenile Steller's Sea-Eagle and adult White-tailed Eagles

Adult Steller's Sea-Eagle

Adult White-tailed Eagle

This adult Steller's Sea-Eagle has lost its left eye.

Immature Steller's Sea-Eagle

Immature White-tailed Eagle

Juvenile White-tailed Eagle


  1. I really need to do that cruise..........

  2. Excelente serie de esta bonita Aguila.Saludos

  3. Stunning scenes with crisp eagle eyes. I'm very happy to see them there. You're lucky to have visited twice. Glad that you were safe from the disastrous weather too. Thanks for sharing your pictures with us.

  4. Phenomenal shots, birds and landscape. No wonder you filled a card with all that going on.

  5. I love this post. The Stellar is one majestic eagle for sure. Beautiful work!