My wife spotted an osprey today at Lake Mathews, so I went back with my camera to see if I could get a few pictures. When I arrived, I saw what appeared to be a big bird on a rock in the middle of the lake, but it was too far away for my lens. After I got home and zoomed in on the pictures, I realized it was a bald eagle, not the osprey. Yes, a bald eagle at Lake Mathews.
I eventually found the osprey…
We saw bald eagles at Lake Mathews once before back in January 2016:
We saw two eagles that day, but we could only get close enough to one of them to get any decent pictures. Unfortunately, we were still too far away to get good pictures. Hopefully that will change some day.
Some facts about bald eagles:
Distinguished by a white head and white tail feathers, bald eagles are powerful, brown birds that may weigh 14 pounds and have a wingspan of 8 feet. Male eagles are smaller, weighing as much as 10 pounds and have a wingspan of 6 feet. […]
Bald Eagles live near rivers, lakes, and marshes where they can find fish, their staple food. Bald Eagles will also feed on waterfowl, turtles, rabbits, snakes, and other small animals and carrion. […]
Bald Eagles may live 15 to 25 years in the wild, longer in captivity.
Source: U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Excerpts from the American Bald Eagle Recovery and National Emblem Commemorative Coin Act:
The Congress finds as follows:
(1) The bald eagle was designated as the national emblem of the United States on June 20, 1782, by our country’s Founding Fathers at the Second Continental Congress.
(2) The bald eagle is the greatest visible symbol of the spirit of freedom and democracy in the world.
(3) The bald eagle species is unique to North America and represents the American values and attributes of freedom, courage, strength, spirit, loyalty, justice, equality, democracy, quality, and excellence.
Source: American Bald Eagle Recovery and National Emblem Commemorative Coin Act
Some facts about ospreys:
The osprey (Pandion haliaetus)—also known as the sea hawk, fish eagle, river hawk or fish hawk—is a large raptor, reaching more than 24 inches in length with a wingspan of up to 71 inches. As its other names suggest, the osprey’s diet consists almost exclusively of fish—up to 99% fish. […]
The typical lifespan of an osprey is 7–10 years, though rarely individuals can grow to as old as 20–25 years.
Source: U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
I live in Victoria Grove just North of the lake. Last week I saw an osprey sitting on top of a street light. I stopped my car to get a look because it is the largest bird I’ve ever seen in Southern California. When it saw me looking at it, it decided to fly away. To my amazement I saw a fish wiggling in its talons. What stood out to me besides the size was the white head and white feathered legs. At first I thought it might be a bald eagle except for the white feathers legs.amazing to see this great bird make a comeback in our area.
Cyndy Dupree says
Thanks for sharing these awesome shots!
Dennis Darabos says
I live in St Charles Michigan, we have several eagles in our area and I have photographed them often. I have been past Lake Mathew several times, and have seen several different water levels for your lake, and always look for natural wildlife. I have to say,” isn’t nature magnificent”? As of this posting, your regulations prohibit boating, fishing, and public access to this beautiful body of water. Keep up the good work.
Yes, Lake Mathews is very restricted. Even the observation point is fenced off. You also might get run off by security if you stop on the dam to enjoy the view. I’ll keep trying to find the eagles in my lens. I bet you have some great pictures.
Darren Tolbert says
I saw the same eagle driving around lake Matthew