Steve Pearce of Santa Rosa knows that bald eagles often can be spotted in the vicinity of Jenner and Goat Rock State Beach in Sonoma County, at the mouth of the Russian River. “A pair of mated eagles can frequently be found here, so I’ll drive out to the coast and look for them,” he says. “Occasionally, there are juveniles. What was interesting this day is that there were hundreds of California brown pelicans flying in from the ocean and landing in the Russian River. And for some reason, this one sub-adult (about 2-1/2 to 3 years old) decided to fly up behind a pelican, talons out. It made slight contact but didn’t drag it down.”

“Sometimes,” he adds, “these young ones are just practicing out there. It’s fun to see.”

Pearce’s stunning, razor-sharp shot of the birds in mid-air took considerable technical skill. It was captured from a Highway 1 pullout overlooking the state beach. “There are all sorts of animals there, and gray whales often go by as are photographing,” he says. “There’s a somewhat regular group of people who go out there. I usually go at sunrise, when the eagles are most active. “

Pearce, a medical device technician, was a first-place winner in California Watchable Wildlife’s January-February 2019 contest He got into photography in 1981 with an interest in car-racing. And then….“I saw a bald eagle picture someone had posted seven our eight years ago and went out and there it was, sitting on the beach. I’ve been doing a lot of wildlife photography ever since, but I like the eagles best.”

See more of Pearce’s photos on his Facebook page.
Canon 7D Mark II, Canon 600mm lens with 1.4 extender bringing it to 840 mm, settings f/5.6 at 1/400, ISO 200

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Janet Fullwood

Janet Fullwood

I am an independent journalist specializing in the outdoor, travel, hospitality, meeting and green industries. I also provide destination photography for use in magazines, newspapers and websites. For 22 years, I was travel editor of the Sacramento Bee, a major daily newspaper in California, responsible for producing and writing for a Sunday section focused on travel. These days, I write a bi-monthly column for Outdoor California Magazine, the official California wildlife, fish and habitat magazine. I'm a contributing writer/editor of California Meetings + Events, a trade magazine for meeting and event planners; and as senior editor for, a website devoted to things to do and places to go with dogs in California. My true love is travel journalism, and I place several stories a year in major newspapers across the country. Professional association memberships: Society of American Travel Writers (SATW), Outdoor Writers Association of California (OWAC), North American Snowsports Journalist Association (NASJA). Specialties: Travel, tourism, hospitality, food and wine, ski, outdoors


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