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On September 9, 2007 my daughter Kaydria and I spent the day on Second Beach in Olympic National Park. Second Beach had been closed for some time so we were excited to see one of our favorite places again. This is the story of that day.

These pictures were taken with an Olympus E500 using either a 14-45 mm or a 40-150 mm lens

Click on the images to see them larger and read the story from there.

P1012824s (25K) The sea stack on the right is the setting for most of this story. When we arrived we discovered a baby sea lion at the base of the stack. In the large picture it looks like a tiny log just to the left of the rock outcrop at the bottom center of the stack. There was nothing wrong with the baby. Mom just needed to go fishing so she left the baby on the beach to take a nap.

Take note of the rock outcrop in the bottom center and smaller trees on the right of the top of the sea stack. They play a role a little later.

"aren't I as cute as I can possibly be" P1012812s (26K)
P1012821s (17K) "I hate it when I get sand in my whiskers"

One of the people in the gathering crowd suggested that we throw the "sick" baby sea lion back into the water. That probably would have killed it. The rule is, never touch a baby seal on the beach. Mom knows what she is doing and she may not like the scent of a human on her baby.

Actually, this is the first picture that I took on the beach. When we arrived we saw the baby and I went for my camera. While I was digging out the camera this eagle landed next to the baby and then jumped up to the rock outcrop. There it was, the shot of a lifetime. I had the chance to take a shot of a bald eagle stalking a baby sea lion, which was just to the left and out of the frame, but the lady in front of me had other ideas. I was dumb founded as she walked closer and closer to the bird. It was gone before I even knew what had happened. P1012809s (48K)
The eagle ended up in this distant tree where it was joined by another eagle (lower right).

I was so disappointed when it was chased away. I have never been that close to a wild eagle before. I thought that my opportunity with that bird was gone forever.

P1012816s (58K)
P1012841s (14K) Oh well. There was still plenty of time to enjoy the beach. We brought out the kites.

As the day progressed a fog bank rolled in from the ocean and hid many of the sea stacks that Second Beach is known for.

P1012839s (9K) No problem with the fog for now. It made for some interesting photographic opportunities.
Small stunt kites like ours require a stiff wind. You know that you are in for some fun when the kite begins to sing.

The baby was still sleeping by the sea stack behind Kaydria

We both needed a "break" so we pulled the kites out of the sky and headed for the place where you break things in private. I was thinking about heading out early. My goal was to shoot the sunset, but with the fog it wasn't going to work out too well...

P1012850s (9K)
P1012855s (27K) The eagle must have been watching us. As soon as we moved away from the side of the stack that the baby was on, it landed at the top of the stack in the small trees. We and the eagle were on one side of the stack and the baby was on the other side.

I started shooting pictures like crazy. First in auto mode and then in manual for bracketing.

This eagle was probably a teenager in eagle years. Its white head wasn't quite white yet. The wind was ruffling its feathers

P1012863s (12K) It took off and flew over us.

I clicked as fast as I could with the camera exposure set to whatever it was, which made this sequence under exposed

P1012864s (18K) It spiraled down...
P1012865s (24K) and landed face to face with the baby sea lion... "hmmm, can I eat you?"

I was on the wrong side of the rock

I took a few steps to the left to get a better view and the eagle looked me in the eye P1012866s (19K)
There were 2 guys just slowing down from a run toward the bird, so it wasn't going to hang around. P1012867s (17K)
The bird gifted us by passing only a few feet away from us. Those are our kites on the sand in the background. P1012868s (26K)
P1012869s (29K)
It was an event that I'll never forget P1012870s (24K)
P1012865s (24K) The tide was coming back in so the baby's nap was about over and it was time to return to mom. I wonder what it would say to its mother if it could talk
These are shots of the beach as the tide came in and the fog rolled out P1012900s (24K)
P1012881s (9K) P1012897s (14K)
P1012941s (16K) P1012967s (14K)
P1012963s (4K) Believe it or not, as the sun went down, the eagle flew into the sunset. Really. I am not kidding. I don't know if it was our eagle, but I like to think that it was

As cold as it might sound and as cute as the baby was, I felt sorry for the eagle. I hope that it isn't too long before it gets a good meal


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