We've just got back from an amazing and breath taking trip from a spectacular place in Norway. Physically we are back in London but all our thoughts are still with majestic Golden and White - tailed Eagles. This eagle adventure was much more than we expected and memories from the trip we'll carry with us all our lives. All thanks to “Eagle Man” Ole Martin Dahle. He is a man with big passion and huge love for eagles and wildlife. He is also well known for his friendship with a gull Charlie who enjoys eating while sitting on his head. Unfortunately we didn't met Charlie as it visits Olie in summer.
The first days of our trip were planned for Golden Eagle photography. Early start was a must as we had to get inside a hide before the sunrise; that way we wouldn't disturbed the birds. It was a good fun to sit silently in the pitch black hide at 5 am on winter morning. With the sky getting brighter every passing minute, we started to see a silhouette of mountains in front of us and nervously began to wait for Golden Eagles. The first bird landed around 7:30 am. It simply made us freeze ... such a beautiful bird. We waited for the eagle to start feeling more comfortable before pressing the shutter button. Two - three golden eagles were showing well till around 9 am. There were good photo opportunities, but sometimes we just wanted to look and enjoy this magnificent and powerful bird...
In the early afternoon the wind was picking up and heavy snow clouds were coming closer and closer from the mountains. Then the storm began. With the snow and wind blowing from all directions we ended up having lens hoods full of snow. There was no chance to photograph with such an equipment. Even if it is highly unrecommended we had to remove our lenses for cleaning… To our big relieve, the birds were not distracted and they visited us again in the afternoon. As nature haven’t decided what to give as weather wise we were rewarded with a mixture of snowfall and sunshine. We were very please with it.
When it was a long wait until eagles arrived again, we had a lovely company of jackdaws and jays who helped us to keep dreariness away.
Late afternoon we left the hide and the following morning we headed back. Wrapped in the sleeping bags and with a cup of hot tea we waited for the eagles to come. It was a long wait until he arrived.
The peak of the day was a remarkable performance of a White - tailed Eagle. It is a large and impressive bird, but we couldn’t stop giggling when we saw it’s funny and clumsy walk. We simply felt in love with this bird.
We enjoyed a superb eagle's company for a good one hour...
For couple of seconds we were lucky to witness two White – tailed Eagles in action ...
In the late afternoon it started snowing again. One golden eagle landed for the last time. It stayed for 10 - 15 min and flew away.
It was the end of our absolutely sensational days with golden eagles. We simply couldn’t ask for more.
Next day was planned for White - tailed Eagle photography from a boat. Dressed in red overalls we immediately doubled our sizes and looked like hobbits in sumo wrestling suits but they were very helpful in the sea in temperatures up to -100 C.
We left a harbor with a small boat which was a very good icebreaker too. Feeding gulls our entire trip to the Norwegian Sea was very important as their noise and activity attracts attention of White - tailed Sea Eagles.
During the first day we had more than 20 dives. Ole worked incredibly hard in positioning the boat in the best possible photographic position. When we see an eagle coming, we always now that we will have to photograph to the left. Then Ole throws out a coalfish shouting “fish is out” and follows by “eagle is coming”. The action then starts really really quickly: eagle lands, grabs the fish and flies away.
Surprisingly there were times when the eagles, mostly the younger ones, had to give several attempts for catching the fish.
White - tailed Eagles can live for more than 20 years. It is a huge bird with broad wings up to 245 cm (over 8 feet) wide.
Speaking about the age of the eagles its’ interesting to mention some data which could be read from the bird rings. For example blue ring on the right leg of the White - tailed Eagle means he was ringed in Norway. Red/silver ring means the eagle was born in 1989.
Apart from a light sea sick it was a very good day and we couldn’t wait for tomorrow.
As we planned to leave for eagles in the early afternoon, the morning was spent photographing small birds and red squirrels.
The day with eagles this time was dedicated for more creative "arty-farty" photography as Ole would say. It was fun but more challenging. There are the best of the shots...
We could spend weeks at this location as we always had a thing for birds of prey. Sadly but all good things come to an end…We’ve spent only four days with Ole Martin Dahle and his eagles but they will stay in our hearts forever. One day we’ll be back in this superb place but this time with a single malt whisky for Ole. It’ll be quite a challenge to find something unique for his collection as it contains more than 120 whiskies already, but it’s nothing comparing to the great job he does…