Change Is Hard

…but change is certain.

Whiting Overlook Park

32 Comments

After seeing several photographs of eagles and pelicans on Facebook I decided to head up to Midland and see this park for myself.

Nature and industry coexisting.

I could tell from many of the photos that this was not a conventional park filled with hiking trails and wide swaths of woods for wandering.

But I was still surprised to find that it consisted of a parking lot on top of a high hill overlooking ponds which are part of the Dow Chemical complex.

As I drove up the hill I could see an eagle sitting in a tree.

Guarding the park.

The light wasn’t good, a bank of clouds was encroaching on the sunshine I’d left at home, two hours to the south. Still, on occassion when I first arrived, the sun broke through the clouds.

Oh! And a juvinile down below!

And it was windy! Between trying to focus on the eagle who flew out over the water as soon as I arrived, and trying to keep my hair out of the frame, I almost missed the pelicans swimming very close to the edge of the pond, behind the chain link fence.

It was hard shooting through the chain link fence.

While I was trying to catch an image of them, shooting through the fence, I lost track of the eagle until I heard a whole lot of eagle type noises coming from the trees.

Look closely, there are three juviniles here, all landing in a tree.

Turns out there were three juviniles, all landing close together. I’m pretty sure one of them had a fish.

This little diving duck was surprised when he came up right in front of the pelican!

Pretty much the whole time I was there I was pointing the camera either at the water following the pelicans, or the sky trying to get a sharp image of the eagles.

The light felt like it was evening, but it was 9:30 in the morning.

I was facinated how these beautiful wild birds coexisted so well with industry.

Such an unusual place to witness an eagle in flight.

I was unsure if the eagles coexist with each other quite as well.

Looks like the adult has something to say.

Mostly the eagles soared round and round, higher and higher. I never saw any of them dive into the water, though when they were flying closer to the ponds the ducks seemed to scatter.

The sky was interesting, but made shooting the birds so difficult.

It was hard to keep track of the big birds, they were really very far away. Sometimes the only way I knew where they were was their noisy discussion amongst themselves.

The light caught his head and the lead edge of his wing.

When the sun slid out for a moment it was easier to find the adult, with his bright white head…

Sometimes the tail was the give away.

…and tail.

The whole time I was there, sitting in the car until an eagle took off from a tree, then popping out to try to get an image, I didn’t think I got anything worth looking at.

He turned into a painting.

I was shooting pretty much into the light, what light there was. And the birds were so darn far away. These were all shot with my longest lens, and they are still cropped a whole lot. Hence the painterly looking images.

I think I’ll go back some day when the sun is shining brighter, and perhaps later in the day to get the sun behind me rather than shining in my eyes.

The best part of the day was just sitting and watching them fly.

I felt lucky today that they were so active. I didn’t get the perfect eagle (or pelican for that matter) shot, but I got to see them flying, so much more fun than watching them watch me while they sit still on a branch.

Landing gear down, more pelicans arrive.

None of these images are great, but I had fun, and I figured you’d have fun looking at them too.

Soar like an eagle….

If you’re a birder, this would be a fun place to visit with powerful binoculars. You can sit in the car and watch some amazing birds. Can’t beat it! (You might want to look at these pictures on something bigger than your phone!)

The clouds moved in and I moved out.

Author: dawnkinster

I'm a long time banker having worked in banks since the age of 17. I took a break when I turned 50 and went back to school. I graduated right when the economy took a turn for the worst and after a year of library work found myself unemployed. I was lucky that my previous bank employer wanted me back. So here I am again, a long time banker. Change is hard.

32 thoughts on “Whiting Overlook Park

  1. Oh wow. I love how you seem to find birds, how you “see” birds. These eagle photos are stupendous. And the sky … you remind me to look at the sky. Thank you. 🙂

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  2. Phantastic Fotos! The one where the adult eagles’s head and the leading edge of his wings is lit is the winner.
    Was anyone else there?
    Why are the pelicans there and not at the Shiawassee Nature Preserve?

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    • There’s only a few parking spaces. There was one car there when I got there, and when I left there was one truck, and a car coming up the hill. No one but me got out of their cars. I like that shot with the leading edge of the wing lit too.

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  3. It makes me happy to know that nature and industry can co-exist. We tend to separate them…but your pictures prove otherwise.

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  4. What a great place. And I think those Eagle shots are quite good!

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  5. I think you got great shots, Dawn! My favorite is the 7th (I think)–the one with the pelicans/ducks in the water and the lines stretching out from them. The eagle shots are beauties–and look at that gorgeous sky behind him! Whew! What a great place you found for photography.

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  6. Wonderful! This post reminded me of the years after we first moved to southern Oregon when a few of us would get together and visit the wildlife refuge an hour or so south of us in February or March, when the eagles were flying through, along with the geese, ducks, and pelicans. We visited once in the fall, when they were heading south. Spectacular!

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    • It’s definitely spectacular when you get to someplace like this during migration. I don’t know if these waters are warm or not, so don’t know if those pelicans are just going through or if they live there. I thnk the eagles would stick around all winter. I’m not sure what the diving ducks were, I need to try to look them up.

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  7. You say these aren’t the greatest of pictures, but I think you’re underestimating their value. I think they’re just lovely — all these beautiful birds coexisting nicely. Maybe humans can learn something from their example, huh? Yes, I definitely think you should go back on another day — maybe when it’s warmer, if they’re even active then!

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  8. Gosh, what a glorious place!

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  9. Wow what a great place! Wonderful photos too!

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    • It’s really interesting. Not sure if the ponds (which are definitely man made) are run off for treatment plants or what. But the ducks, pelicans, eagles and probably other stuff sure like them!

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  10. Looks like a good outing, Dawn. It’s not easy to photograph moving objects like birds, especially in a new place. You’ve done very well.

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    • It’s really difficult to move a heavy long lens across a crazy sky. The camera kept wanting to focus on the clouds. The whole thing was sort of surreal. I’m glad I got even halfway presentable images, but I really wanted a much sharper shot. Gonna try again another day.

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  11. It’s so interesting to me how the birds are drawn to areas like that. There’s a dam in Pennsylvania (the Conowingo Dam, a hydroelectric station) where eagles, different types of vultures, ducks, geese, and a wide variety of birds hang out in the winter months. It’s very industrial looking and the dam itself is the cause of much controversy here on the Chesapeake Bay because it’s where a lot of pollution comes from that enters the bay. The build-up of litter by the dam is pretty impressive at times.

    Your photos are wonderful. I especially like the one with the caption “The light caught his head and the lead edge of his wing.” It’s difficult to capture eagles. We have some that live next door in the Mystery Woods and I have yet to get a good photo of one or both of them.

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    • Yes, they don’t seem to mind the industrial-ness of it all. I didn’t see any litter here, but was limited to staying right there in the parking lot, no exploring. I wonder if the eagles are just there in the winter or stay there all year. I guess I’ll find out. I want to try again, in the afternoon so the sun isn’t in my eyes, but on a sunny day so that low light is less a problem. The long lens needs more light!

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  12. I love love love your eagle shots, Dawn! That must have been a fun day to see so much activity. I’m told the juveniles are still trained by their parents as a group until they nest again, but it’s fascinating that the juveniles band together and work as a group to feed.

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  13. Yes, eagles are fascinating to watch and listen to. We have a family in the trees by our woods and they chatter a lot and chase each other too. They are very majestic birds to watch. I think you got some great shots. I don’t know that a clear sunny day is any better for catching them in photos. My ‘long’ lens isn’t like the nature photographers have so I can relate to how you feel when you can’t get the shot aimed for. Thanks for sharing what you saw that day. The next trip will bring you new surprises!

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    • I know that every adventure, even to the same place, is different We’ll see what find next time. I felt very disappointed while out there, though, as NOTHING was in focus when I zoomed in on the image. They do chatter a lot to each other. Last winter I was putting lights on a tree outside and I kept hearing ths bird noise above me and when I finally looked up it was two bald eagles circling way up high. That’s happened to me here before, in the summer where, while talking to a neighbor, I kept hearing some sound and finally looked up and there they were. So cool.

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      • I think you’ve described the feelings all photographers have when out on a shoot. Perhaps that’s what keeps us going back for more. You’ll get the shot that makes you happy soon.
        We have a family of the eagles living in the trees in our woods and the neighbors. They circle the yard often to spot the rabbits. They used to circle to check out my little Copper, I could never leave him out in the yard alone.
        They are very cool to watch though – so graceful when they fly!

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  14. Yes, the eagle on the right seems to have a fish, especially since the other two seem mesmerized by that eagle on the right. Your photos are stunning … so much better than any of us would ever see on our own, much less with a camera in front of our faces. I love photo #14.
    Love the pelican photos. Do we have pelicans here on Washington State’s pacific northwest coast? I don’t know! Research needed.
    Ha! “longer lens needed” … will there ever be one long enough? Me too. 🙂

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    • I don’t know why we have pelicans in Michigan. I never heard of such a thing until last year when people started posting pictures of them at a refuge. They aren’t at that refuge this year, but they’re in this urban(ish) pond not more than 30 miles away from where I’d seen them last year. Who knows why they decide to stop somewhere and not somewhere else. I will always want a longer lens.

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  15. Pingback: Searching for Snowy | Change Is Hard

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