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Old Aug 5, 2007, 11:48 PM   #1
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I was biking along the san diego river trail across from the san joaquin wildlife sanctuary,when I spot this bird way up in the air. I chased after it hoping that it would come down closer. It never did, so I just grabbed a shot of it. This is a terrible shot. It is a 100% crop. It was done at mid day and the original pic, it was pretty much just a black silhoutte. I did what I could in photoshop to bring out the details on the wing and tail, in hopes that I can get a positive ID on it. I think it's a golden eagle. What do you guys think? Golden eagles have been spotted around here, but they are quite rare. The body doesn't have the same barrel shape as the usual red tail hawks I see.

1)


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Thanks

- Hung
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Old Aug 6, 2007, 2:40 AM   #2
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Hi Hung. From what I can see, it looks like a juvenile golden eagle. They don't get theirmature markingsfor about 4 years. This shot reminds me of most of my bif's. Too friggin' far away...lol....cheers....Don
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Old Aug 6, 2007, 12:45 PM   #3
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Agreed, but I think not enough white for a juvenile* Golden Eagle- probably a subadult and one in molt, possibly to the adult plumage as there seems to be a hint of gold around the head in the second picture (but hard to tell anything for certain because of the backlighting). Not often seen in Orange County away from the Santa Ana Mountains.

Things to rule out in aback-lit photo or flight sillhouettefrom this area (usually not a problem in live observation or front-lit photo) are Turkey Vulture, immature Bald Eagle and, oddly enough, Zone-tailed Hawk, all but the TV equally uncommon.

A good catch, Hung, even if not under optimal conditions, and good enough to substantiate the occurrence.


* Edit:

A Juvenile bird is defined as afirst year bird - "immature" is indefinite and thus "safer". BTW juvenile is an age,not a plumage; juvenal plumage describes the first year appearance.
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Old Aug 6, 2007, 5:17 PM   #4
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Thanks guys! I wish I could have gotten a closer pic, but it seemed content soaring way up there in the sky. Hopefully our paths will cross again in the future.

- Hung
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