Steller's Sea Eagle by Zachary Holderby
About the Cover Photographer
I have been birding since about fifth grade, for almost 30 years now. Originally from Washington, I started doing field research in high school. I continued with a BS in Wildlife Ecology from Washington State University and a MS in Wildlife Ecology at Texas State University. My thesis involved studying polymorphism in Reddish Egrets and how this affects their breeding and foraging. I have done bird survey work in Arizona and Colorado and terrestrial vertebrate monitoring for Channel Islands National Park; I have worked with parrots in South America and done squirrel research in the Yukon.
Currently, I am living in Penobscot, Maine, with my wife and two kids; I try to find some time to go birding. I am working three jobs: substitute teaching, working on the Maine Breeding Bird Survey and Atlas, and sea kayak guiding for Stonington Paddle. Like many New England birders, I have been thinking about this Steller’s Sea-Eagle since it showed up in Canada this summer, a bird that has long been near the top of my world bucket list.
When the eagle was spotted in Georgetown, Maine, I took my kayak so I could get good photos. When the bird flew out of sight, I figured it would not ruin anyone else’s experience if I cautiously paddled out to the back side of the island where I last saw it. When I was 70 meters away, it was unperturbed. At 40 meters out, it still did not care as I slowly worked my way back and forth in a broad arc, a similar but more cautious approach than I use for Bald Eagle when I am guiding. I took pictures with my telephoto 150–600 mm Tamron lens on a Canon Rebel on a cloudy day.