Thursday, June 28, 2018

"Luckier" Fledges!

I returned early this morning to Curtner Elementary School in Milpitas after a nine day hiatus to find the second eaglet, now named "Luckier" had fledged. A small group of the regular photographers had gathered and were watching the bird as it sat on the roof of the school waiting for a parent to bring food.

The bird took flight and landed in the adjoining field where it walked around and flapped it wings.

It took flight again and my 500mm was just way too much lens as the bird flew in my direction and completely filled the frame.  This is when I wished I had my versatile 200 - 500mm zoom on hand.

We are not sure the sex of "Luckier", but we are guessing also possibly a female.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

"Lucky" Rescued!

The now named juvenile bald eagle "Lucky" which fell to the ground on Sunday morning, was finally rescued yesterday evening and brought to The Lindsay Wildlife Rehabilitation Center in Walnut Creek, CA.

Here is a link to the story by the Mercury News, although I think the media are in part to blame for generating the large numbers of onlookers, only adding to the unnecessary stress inflicted on the bird.  I am glad it is no longer in that situation.

Monday, June 18, 2018


Early this morning I headed up to the bald eagles in Milpitas only to find the front area of Curtner Elementary School sealed off in order to protect one of the juvenile bald eagles which had fallen to the ground yesterday morning. The mayor of Milpitas was there and I spoke with him briefly. He was concerned about the welfare of the bird and was planning on checking back periodically. He told me animal services are also keeping an eye should it need rescuing.

However, because this latest event was "broadcast"on Channel 7 news this morning, it is now drawing large numbers of people and I honestly don't see how the bird will be able to receive food from the parents with so many onlookers. This morning the bird was in the shade of one of the trees and I left for an hour or so to go photograph elsewhere.

I dropped by again on my way back, but this time it was behind a low bush up against the wall.

This bothered me, so when I got home, I contacted the Mayor of the City of Milpitas expressing my concern. I also contacted my friends at the San Francisco Bay Bird Observatory.  As I was writing this however, I learned that the Department of Fish and Game are in the process of sealing off the entire area, so the parents can feel safe and comfortable enough to continue with their feeding until it is ready to finally take to the skies!

Photography is not always about getting the shot and the safety and welfare of the wildlife we are so eager to capture must always take precedence.

This is a prime example of learning to conduct ourselves in an ethical and responsible manner.

Let's just hope people respect this decision and put their self interests aside for the sake of this beautiful bald eagle family!!! 

Sunday, June 17, 2018

The Bald Eagle Family of Milpitas, California!

A pair of bald eagles have been nesting the past couple of years in a redwood tree located on the ground of an elementary school in Milpitas, California.  The news has been drawing both birders and photographers en masse!

Last year was the first time I visited and the parents successfully raised one chick. This year, they have managed to produce and raise two which are now close to fledging.  It is the first time I have visited this year and I am excited to potentially see these amazing birds take their first flight!

Here is a short clip I took of the siblings in the nest. Watch their behavior as a gull passes by!

Juvenile Bald Eagles - Milpitas, California 2018 from Jacqueline Deely on Vimeo.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

UnCruise Adventures "Alaska's Whales & Glaciers" Highlights!

Just back from an amazing week in Alaska as Photography Theme Host with UnCruise Adventures. Based out of Seattle, WA, this company holds ties to my past as the owners, Captain Dan Blanchard and Tim Jacox were former executives with Cruise West where I too worked in the late nineties. Cruise West eventually closed it's doors, but in 1996 Dan and Tim had embarked on their own small ship enterprise creating what eventually became UnCruise Adventures.

Our journey began in Juneau's bustling port, jam packed with cruise ships both large and small and an endless stream of float planes transporting eager tourists to destinations unknown.  Since Dan spends most of his time living in Juneau, guests embarking on our trip were treated to one of his enthusiastic talks about Alaska and the journey we were about to undertake. He also personally greeted each and every guest as we boarded the ship, something I have not experienced with any other company and a really nice touch.

Highlights of the trip for me were...

The fjords and waterfalls of Tracy Arm. Although we had a rainy day, it did not spoil the magic and beauty of this area.  In fact, I think I preferred it this way!  We enjoyed kayaking and skiff tours to the face of the glacier, harbor seals hauled out on the ice and jaw dropping scenery.

A large school of dall's porpoises following and playing alongside the ship late in the evening. The excitement of seeing humpback whales in Frederick Sound, including one that surfaced very close to the ship generating lots of oohs and aahs!

Visiting the Tlingit community and artisans in Kake. Learning about their history, culture and traditions including demonstrations in basket weaving and carving techniques used on totem poles.

The beautiful and at times comical children of Kake who performed for us and an invitation to participate in a Tlingit communal dance. A unique memory and experience to treasure!

Maneuvering around stunning blue icebergs adrift in the ice sculpture garden of Le Conte Glacier.  Witnessing their transformation before our very eyes, as they seemed to take on a life of their own, rotating and rolling, crackling and popping, releasing centuries old oxygen bubbles!

Waking up in pristine coves with incredible views right outside my cabin door!!! Sunrise at this time of year in Alaska is EARLY and it was already light at 4:00am!  For me, this was the absolute best time of day to completely immerse oneself in the absolute quiet, stillness and stunning beauty of the Alaskan wilderness. It was also the best time to see and photograph glass like reflections such as this.

At 6:30am each morning, there was also the opportunity to participate in a yoga session out on deck.  What an amazing setting in which to stretch, meditate and prepare for the exciting day ahead!

With the long days of summer, sunsets were late, around 10:00pm, but well worth waiting up for with scenes such as this in Thomas Bay.

Other highlights included kayaking in pristine, turquoise waters and bushwhacking our way through wild terrain! We also saw lots of bald eagles and bears!

Additional options for guests throughout the week included paddle boarding and hikes/walks on marked trails. And for those a little more daring, a polar plunge!

Our journey ended in the beautiful city of Sitka with Mount Edgecume as a backdrop and I only wish I had more time to spend here.  Next time I hope!

What makes these small ship cruises so special is the ability to get to know everyone on board and I truly enjoyed meeting both young and old from around the globe. Last but not least, the staff and crew of the Safari Endeavour was absolutely wonderful and I thank them all for their excellent service and support!

You can find more images from my adventure in my Alaska gallery.  Here is a short video I put together from some iPhone footage I took throughout the trip.

UnCruise Adventures "Alaska's Glaciers & Whales" - May 2018 from Jacqueline Deely on Vimeo.

To learn more about UnCruise Adventures, their wide range of Alaska itineraries and other amazing destinations, VISIT HERE!