Klickitat Bald Eagles and the Labyrinth, WA

1/10/2019 Balfour/Klickitat Bald Eagles

We met up with friends in Cascade Locks, then drove to the Balfour/Klickitat wildlife viewing area near Lyle, Washington. Early January is bald eagle nesting season there, and we saw many eagles in the trees across the pond.

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Our first eagle sighting – white head in the oak trees.

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Two eagles on this branch…

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Actually, there are seven in this picture – four on the lower level and three higher up.

I watched these two eagles for a while – as they looked around.

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For every white head in the trees, there were two or three brown juvenile eagles. They are as big as the mature eagles, but harder to spot because they don’t get their white feathers fully until they are four years old.

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Three juvenile eagles in the tree, one flying nearby.

We witnessed a lone salmon struggling up the stream, and then watched as a juvenile bald eagle grabbed it with his talons, pulled it onto the adjacent mudflat, and ate it. Other eagles joined in after a while. It was the circle of life before our eyes – not pretty, but the way of nature.

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The salmon

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Juvenile eagle lands nearby

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and pounces

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Drags the salmon onto the mudflat

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Joined by other eagles.

We also saw two great blue herons on the nearby cliffs.

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Two great blue herons, circled in blue.

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A closer view of the herons.

Shortly after this drama, a couple of dozen eagles flew in circles above the area for five minutes. My camera telephoto lens is not quite up to clear pictures of all these events, but I enjoyed watching and marveling at the beauty.

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Labyrinth Trail

After a quick lunch we walked up the nearby Labyrinth trail to the tall Jefferson pine  landmark tree. We saw Mt Hood, the Columbia Hills and eastern gorge with snow dusting, and a few early wildflowers on on this misty, cloudy day. A good day with friends. (5.8 miles/1000 feet/#2 for 2019)

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The Old Highway waterfall

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The upper waterfall

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My favorite oak grove

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Views of Mt Hood

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Phlox

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Phlox, eastern gorge dusted with snow

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Salt and pepper

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Oak trees in low light

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Columnar basalts

View under the Bridge of the Gods in Cascade Locks, our meeting place.

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