White-tailed Sea-eagles in Niigata City

White-tailed Sea-eagles (male with the fish)

Toyanogata, Niigata, Japan
All photographs February to March 4, 2012

Range: 200 metres. Cropped image:
 Nikon 1 V1, FT1 + Nikkor AF-S 300mm f4 and Nikon 1.4xTC II on flimsy tripod.
Equal to 1134mm

 I've been learning more about White-tailed Sea-eagles visiting Niigata in the Winter months. They're not abundant but they can be found at various locations around Niigata City: Toyanogata, Fukushimagata, and Sakata all have a couple each. It's not easy to get close views however, other than a lucky fly-by. I've had just a handful of such encounters which are usually very fleeting. Usually they're sitting out of reach in the middle of an island (as above) or out in the marshes and wetlands. I guess that's the way big eagles like it.

Anyway with such distances, I experimented with different equipment. I normally don't have good long-lens technique nor handle a tripod well so please don't judge the equipment by these images. On the days I visited the wind was quite strong and the cameras weren't held steady on my cheap flimsy tripod. I guess I should spend a few thou and get a nice heavy Gitzo or such.

Never intended to be a Nikon fanboy but I'm happy with the stuff I've got. Still love my D300 the most.

Uncropped image with the above equipment. I think ok for 200 metres distance.
The background is the park on the other side of the lake about a kilometre away. 

Nikon 1 V1, FT1adaptor with Nikkor AF-S 70-300mm f5.6 VR on monopod.
Equal to 810mm

A nice light combo. I think I'd like to try it on closer, passerine subjects.

Digiscoped with Nikon P300, FSB-8 adaptor, Nikon Fieldscope ED50, eyepiece 40x W DS on flimsy tripod.
Range 200 metres. Sharpened but uncropped.

View of the island in the lake with Big Swan Stadium in the background. Big Swan Stadium was built for the 2002 World Cup. I think England actually played there.
Nikon P300

Nikon D300 with Nikkor 80-400mm VR @400mm
bird on the left is a Black-eared Kite

Nikon D300 with Nikkor 80-400mm @80mm

D300 with 80-400 again.

Nikon D300 with Nikkor AF-S 300mm F4 + 1.4x TCII
Note Big Swan at the top left.

Nikon D300 with 300mm f4 and 1.4TC again, cropped.

The White-tails at Fukushimagata, Niigata, as seen from the observertory. About 250 metres.