I was walking along the shore of Lake Tapps and noticed a big commotion a little more than 1/4-mile away (as measured later by Google Earth). I saw a Bald Eagle circling and repeatedly diving on what I thought must be a school of fish. Soon he was joined by another Eagle and they began to fight each other for the prey. Territorial Eagle fights do happen, but I've never seen one, nor have I seen any good photos...
Naturally, I grabbed my camera. The action was so furious and far away that is was hard to see if I was getting any photos. So I just snapped lots of pics and hoped for the best. I didn't realize what I was watching, until I got home and looked at the pic on my computer. It turned out I had photographed a three-way life and death struggle between two mature Bald Eagles fighting over one very frighten duck! The Eagles fought each other for several minutes while trying to get that duck! It was like WW III in the air! All these pics were taken with my Panasonic FZ-28 at 18X zoom which is 486 mm. (Click on pic to enlarged)
Note: The fellow sitting on the tailgate of his pickup truck never realized the show he was missing.
With perfect timing, the duck always dove and escaped with a mighty splash! Then he'd pop to the surface as soon as the Eagle flew past. This was repeated over and over for several minutes. I worried the poor duck would tire and that would be the end of him.
A second Eagle joins the attack! The duck kept diving "just in time", so the Eagles began to dive into the water after him!
After several minutes the Eagles got frustrated and began to attack each other. They soon began to dive vertically, level out, and attach head-on in a good old-fashioned game of high-speed "Chicken". Sometimes they banked away from each other at the last possible second. Other times they'd climb vertically and tear into each other while falling back toward the water. (The duck catches his breath at the right side of this picture)
A terrible miscalculation! The luckiest shot of my life catches this 100 mph head-on collision between two Bald Eagles.
On Eagle stayed aloft and flew away, but the other lies motionless in a crumpled heap. The lucky duck survived to live another day.
It's sad to watch an Eagle drown. He wiggled, flapped and struggled mostly underwater. He finally got his head above water and with great difficulty managed to get airborne. To my astonishment, he flew straight toward me, and it was the most wretched and unstable bird flight I've ever seen!
The bedraggled Eagle circled me once - then lit atop a nearby fir tree. He had a six-foot wingspread and looked mighty angry. I was concerned that I might be his next target, but he was so exhausted he just stared at me. Then I wondered if he would topple to the ground. As he tried to dry his feathers, it seemed to me that his beleaguered Eagle symbolized America in its current trials.