Richmond Photography Meetup Group

January 16, 2011

Today was the first day on the James River in about a week and I was happy to see the resident bald eagles back in their regular spots. With all the migratory activity lately, it seemed to have thrown the locals off their game. There were a few migratory eagles in the area and over the course of the day we saw approximately 30 bald eagles, including both resident and migratory eagles.  

Of the five pair of resident eagles that I follow, only two of the nests are visible ... Baba & Pops and Bandit & Smokey. Virginia & James' nest could be seen if you knew where to look, but it fell last fall and they rebuilt further inland and it's no longer visible.  Any day now, the residents will begin to lay their eggs, but for some, it could be another two weeks.  The historic number of eagle chicks will continue to rise as the resident pair continues to increase their numbers on the James and throughout the Chesapeake Bay watershed. In the last 34 years, over 10,092 chicks were documented by the Center for Conservation Biology.  In 2010, 8.7% of those chicks were produced and over 70% of that number has been produced in the last 10 years.  Amazing and awesome work by our bald eagles and the dedication of the Center for Conservations Biology.

This past Sunday I took out a couple of groups of photographers from the Richmond Photography Meetup Group, a truly amazing group of photographers. When I asked how many people were in the group, I expected the normal answer from the photo clubs I had belonged to over the years. Thirty maybe? Thirty-Five? Nope ... I was amazed at the number of members. Over 300 members!!  The three images in this article were taken by their members during the day on Sunday. 

If you are interested in learning more about this group, check out the following website:  If you are at all interested in nature photography, this is great group of people. 

--Capt. Mike


The photo's stories?  Top right:  Here is one of the migratory eagles we saw this past Sunday.  Notice the beautiful markings of this sub-adult bald eagle.  The head is starting to turn white, and the tail will soon follow while the wings and body will begin to fill in solid brown.  Photo by Dave Parrish, Richmond Meetup Group.

Top left:  Interesting angle of a mature bald eagle.  Here's looking at you!  Photo by Marlene Frazier, Richmond Photo Meetup Group. 

To the right:  By looking at the markings on the left wing (bottom in photo) I believe this is the same sub-adult bald eagle as in the top left photo.  Notice the white starting to show in the tail feathers, and you really get a great sense of how the head is starting to fill in with the classic white feathers. It takes a bald eagle four to five years to become a fully mature bald eagle with the full white head and tail and dark brown body and wings. This is a wonderful example of an eagle that is getting closer to maturity.  Photo by Dave Parrish, Richmond Meetup Group.