James River Henrico Virginia

It’s 7 AM and 28 degrees as I board the weather worn , 24 ft fishing boat that will be taking me through about 5 miles of bald eagle territory along the James River just outside of Richmond, Virginia. I crack open a couple handwarmers and stuff them into my gloves as we prepare to witness the greatest comeback story of the bald eagle in the entire North American continent. Forty years ago there were none. Today, over 280 pair of bald eagles call the James River Watershed home. Myself and 5 others will be passing through the territories of 5 resident pairs and also some migrants from up north who spend their winters here because of the abundance of food and a river that doesn’t freeze. I’ll spend about 4 hours on the river this morning but it only takes about 15 minutes before I hear the call from Captain Mike; “bird out, 2:00 “. I look up, and there he is, swooping in from his perch along the banks and diving directly in front of the boat about 40 yards away. Even though it’s a beautiful, calm morning, the gentle rocking of the boat and the ridiculous speed of the diving bird makes it extremely hard to keep my subject in frame. But I manage to lock on and fire off a burst of shots as he swoops in to grab breakfast in the golden morning light.

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