British Columbia Canada Vancouver Island wildlife

Podcast: Photographer Christian Sasse discusses hawk chick raised by bald eagles


An adult bald eagle with eaglet and hawklet in a nest located on Vancouver Island, Canada.

[box]NOTE: Photographer Christian Sasse hopes to broadcast live from the nest location on Vancouver Island today. His live streams are on YouTube and Periscope (links at the end of this post). [/box]

On Vancouver Island, a familiar bald eagle nest is suddenly home to a most unfamiliar scene.  

The eagle parents are not only busy feeding three eaglets in that nest.  They’re also feeding a baby red tailed hawk!

How it all came to be remains a mystery.

But there’s no doubt about who’s been capturing some spectacular, intimate moments on video.

In today’s podcast, Photographer Christian Sasse of Surrey, British Columbia shares some insights into this compelling story.

He shoots with an 800mm lens, allowing him to get extreme close-ups of the nest, while standing a great distance away.

The interview featured in today’s podcast took place the night before another ferry ride to Vancouver Island, where Sasse will return to the nest location with longtime bald eagle researcher David Hancock at his side.

VIDEO PLAYLIST: Christian Sasse videos featuring hawk chick being raised by bald eagles



Christian Sasse on YouTube

Christian Sasse on Periscope

Hancock Wildlife Foundation

Professor David Bird

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Oh, Silvana! Where Bald Eagles delight

A Bald Eagle in the rain on Sunday, February 23, 2014. Photo taken in Silvana, WA.

(Silvana, WA) Passing through the Silvana area on a rain-soaked day in late February may not sound exciting; but even a wet, winter day gets my adrenaline going in Silvana.

That’s because the Bald Eagles always seem to be perched in trees along the Stillaguamish River.

Lots of Eagles.

I often simply open my sunroof (yes, even letting the drizzle in) and simply point my camera straight up to photograph an eagle perched on a limb directly over the road.

Yes, I’ve made trips to the more distant Rockport to scratch my Bald Eagle itch.

But the Silvana area’s relative closeness coupled with its abundance of nearby eagles can be just as thrilling as the more talked about mountain destination.

My trip through the Silvana area’s eagle country today was brief, lasting only about 30-minutes.

And while I didn’t do a precise count, I estimate that I saw more than 20 Bald Eagles as I drove along about a 3-mile stretch of rural road near the “Stilly.”

The photo above featuring an eagle flying in the rain is probably my favorite from today’s shoot.

Meantime, viewing the eagles  brought back memories of a wonderful video I had the pleasure of producing with Christian Sasse last year.

Sasse has an extraordinary talent for photographing Bald Eagles.

Below, you can watch the video we produced featuring his fantastic images taken in Port Hardy, British Columbia.



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Record-setting amateur astronomer now a rising star in Bald Eagle photography

Christian Sasse (right) assists Bald Eagle researcher David Hancock while attending to a juvenile eagle. (photo courtesy Christian Sasse)

Christian Sasse loves pushing the limits.

He shattered a world-record when he imaged the most distant object from earth ever captured by an amateur-sized telescope.

Now, he’s taking aim at producing some magnificent wildlife photography.

This latest chapter in Sasse’s adventurous life began to unfold shortly after he moved to British Columbia in 2011.  That same year, he visited the Fraser Valley Bald Eagle Festival, thus igniting a passion for both the welfare (he volunteers at the Hancock Wildlife Foundation) and imagery of the majestic raptor.

And that is when Sasse decided to take-up photography. Yes, just two years ago.

Enthusiastic, rave reviews of Sasse’s photos continue to pour-in from around the world on his Facebook page. As of this writing, his page has 15.8 thousand “likes.”

Sasse regularly updates his Facebook page with fresh images, usually several times per week.

The photos intimately showcase Bald Eagles at various stages of life, from the recently hatched to the mighty, full-grown adult.

Classic Bald Eagle behaviors are also captured by Sasse’s lens(es); and we’re not only talking about the familiar “money shot” that features a flying eagle’s talons plucking a salmon from the water mere centimeters below.

For example, how many of us have witnessed a Bald Eagle standing in the muddy waters of a low-tide and patiently hunting for a midshipman (fish) that’s mostly hidden in the muck?

To top it all off, it turns-out Sasse is also quite gracious; something I learned firsthand.

Several weeks ago, I reached-out to Sasse via Facebook and asked for permission to use two of his photos in a project.  He kindly obliged.

It was while working on that project that I came across a piece of up-tempo music and thought, Christian Sasse’s photography would go great with this tune!

The rest, as they say, is history.

The music and Sasse’s photos are featured in the video below.





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Foot found on Michigan beach


(August 1)  A human foot encased in a sock and size 10 Reebok sandal was found washed-up on a Lake Huron (Michigan) beach this week.  Investigators already have a few missing persons cases that may, ultimately, help solve the mystery.

One of those cases, according to the, concerns the “mysterious” drowning of a Detroit lawyer in August 2005.

Still, investigators are not ruling-out the possibility that the Michigan case is connected to the “mystery feet” that have washed ashore in British Columbia:

The Michigan foot joins five detached feet that have washed up in B.C. in the past year, sparking a police and forensic investigation and heated speculation as to their origins. Two of the feet belong to the same person, and a third belonged to a man who went missing from the Lower Mainland a few years ago.

“I’m not going to discount any possibilities at this point,” Det. Sgt. Harshberger said, “including that this has something to do with what’s happened up there in Canada. … We’ll certainly be looking to investigators there for some guidance on this one.”

The most likely source of the foot, he said, is Charles (Chuck) Rutherford, 35, who is presumed dead along with his girlfriend, Lana Ann Stempien, also 35. The couple reportedly drowned on a boat trip that started in Belle River, Ont., a lake community near Windsor, in August, 2005. –

The Lake Huron foot has been taken to a Michigan State Police Crime Lab.  The foot’s DNA is expected to be compared to the DNA profiles of missing persons and unidentified bodies.

*To read the archives concerning the B.C. mystery feet, please click here.

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Newspaper: Police knew about footless body before last week

NEW/RelatedWashington officials to send piece of footless skeleton to B.C. (Vancouver Sun, July 22)

(July 21) How do you have a high-profile investigation about five mystery feet washing-up along the coast of British Columbia and not look into the case of a footless body found washed ashore just across the border?

That’s been the question slowly-aimed at the Royal Canadian Mounted Police ever since last Friday’s exclusive CTV report concerning a body found on the shores of Orcas Island, Washington more than a year ago. In fairness, the report also said that the coroner in Washington State never felt compelled to notify the the BC Coroners Service about the Orcas Island discovery until after he was contacted by the CTV crew last week.

But according to a story published in this morning’s Globe and Mail, the RCMP was already aware of the Orcas Island body prior to last week’s CTV story.  Here are the lead paragraphs in today’s Globe and Mail report:

Police investigating washed-up feet knew about an unidentified, footless body found off the shores of Orcas Island in Washington before media reports last week, RCMP Constable Annie Linteau said yesterday.

But she wouldn’t say when they found out about the body or what actions they’ve taken to work with authorities in Washington to see if it is connected to the disembodied feet discovered on B.C.’s shores.

Just last Friday, CTV reported:

But (San Juan County Coroner Randy) Gaylord says Canadian authorities never contacted him, and despite international media coverage he admits he never bothered to tell them he had a footless body.

It wasn’t until CTV News called Gaylord that he decided to inform the BC Coroners Service. It’s asked for DNA.

The long delay in making the connection between the U.S. body and the B.C. feet raises questions about communication between jurisdictions.

Now let’s return to this morning’s Globe and Mail:

San Juan County coroner Randall Gaylord said Canadian authorities didn’t contact him to ask about the body until last Thursday. According to documents from the sheriff’s office, U.S. authorities informed the Canadian Police Information Centre about the find in May, 2007. Sheriff office records don’t show any contact by the RCMP regarding the detached feet until July 17 of this year.

Although the RCMP recently announced that DNA has helped solve the mystery concerning one of the five feet found in the Strait of Georgia, more questions have surfaced concerning the handling of the information from Washington State.

Was last Friday’s CTV report correct when it suggested the RCMP was unaware of the Orcas Island case until CTV seemingly put the wheels into motion?

On its Web site Friday, CTV posed what had seemed like a fair–and quite serious–question:

The long delay in making the connection between the U.S. body and the B.C. feet raises questions about communication between jurisdictions.

Meantime, according to today’s Globe and Mail, the RCMP only requested a DNA sample of the Orcas Island body just last Thursday.

That alone seems to say a lot.

(You can read all of the stories about the B.C. Mystery Feet here.)

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Breaking News: Missing foot man won’t be named

In a case that has fascinated people worldwide, police say they will not release the name of a missing man whose foot washed-up in Canada’s Strait of Georgia.

DNA was used to make this first match in the case of the five mystery feet that have surfaced from the waters off the coast of British Columbia.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police released the following update this afternoon:

B.C. – Tip Leads to Positive ID of Found Foot

File #2008 2008-07-21 12:45 PDTBURNABY-As a result of a tip from the public, investigators from the BC Coroners Service, RCMP and Delta Police are confirming they have made a positive identification for the remains of a right foot in a Campus running shoe found on Jedediah Island on Aug. 20, 2007.

At the request of the family, the identity of the victim will not be released to the public, though investigators can confirm he was from the Lower Mainland. RCMP investigators confirm that additional information provided by family members allowed for the identity of the victim to be verified more quickly. Cause of death is not known at this time though no evidence of foul play exists.

Investigations by the RCMP, Delta Police Department and the Coroners Service to determine identities in the three remaining cases of feet found between Aug. 2007 and June 2008 in the waters around Gabriola Island, Valdez Island, Kirkland Island and Westham Island are ongoing. On July 10, 2008, it was confirmed that the foot found on Valdez Island and the one found on Westham Island are from the same male.

Investigators also confirm that DNA analysis of the five feet has excluded all victims from the 2005 Quadra Island plane crash.

Click to view photographs of the shoes and information from the police. Anyone with information, or who may recognize one of the shoes as belonging to a missing loved one is asked to call 1-866-504-3888.

No further information is available from the Coroners Service or police at this time.

To date, has published seven stories (including this update) about this mysterious case.  You may read all of those stories here (listed most recent to oldest).

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