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

DSLR picture Washington wildlife

Photos: Sun-splashed Edmonds, WA

(Edmonds, WA)  While working on a video project in Edmonds on Monday, I also had the opportunity to shoot some pictures.

I thought I’d share some of those photos here.

Earlier in the day, I’d actually wondered if I’d have any luck, at all, with the weather.

In Snohomish, it had been raining intermittently throughout the morning.

Edmonds delivered a beautiful—dare I say warm—mostly sunny afternoon and early evening.

And, at times, it felt as if I nearly had the beaches all to myself (I spent time at the beach south of the marina, then awaited sunset at another beach just north of the ferry dock).

One of the highlights was seeing a Bald Eagle atop a pole near the ferry dock.

My kind of day!


Snohomish Washington wildlife

VIDEO: Snow Geese arriving in farm field

Snow Geese gathering in farm field in Snohomish, WA.
Snow Geese gathering in farm field in Snohomish, WA.

(Snohomish, WA)  One of the best moments I’ve had watching Snow Geese came as a surprise this past December.  I’ve just now edited that video and am sharing it here.

On December 6, I’d nearly finished driving the short length of Springhetti Road.  Sunset was fast approaching and the prospects for a satisfying shoot seemed to darken by the minute.

I did see a large flock of Snow Geese gathered in the distance, just west of Highway 9.  And a smaller flock appeared out toward the middle of a nearby field.

Alas, I turned around near Harvey Field and conceded that it was time to drive home, heading back up Springhetti Road along the way.

And that’s when the magic happened.

About halfway up the road, Snow Geese were now flying directly overhead.  Lots of ’em!

The geese were coming from the west, and appeared to be landing close by (the higher ground of the railroad  that runs beside this stretch of road obstructs the immediate view to the east).

I parked along road as wave after wave of geese continued to pass overhead.

Once I had my camera and tripod out of my vehicle, I walked all of 30 yards and set-up along the railroad tracks.

The view was magnificent:  So many Snow Geese arriving in a farm field on a sun-splashed December afternoon, and the snow-capped peaks of the Cascades in the distance.

It all made for a delightful, exhilarating moment behind the camera.



British Columbia video Washington wildlife

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.



British Columbia Canada video wildlife youtube

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.





video Washington wildlife

Video captures young Bald Eagle’s struggle to survive

An eaglet that recently left its nest appeared in back yards on Camano Island. It did not appear that the bird could fly. (Image courtesy Jeff Butts)

(Camano Island, WA)  When Jeff Butts learned a young Bald Eagle might be in trouble an hour away from his Edmonds home, he knew he had to take action.

“It was a no-brainer,” Butts said.

That same day, Butts made the drive to Camano Island and located the eagle.

The young bird had recently left its nest, but it wasn’t flying.

When confronted with a scene like this one, what would be the right course of action?

Call for help?

Leave the bird alone and hope that it eventually flies off?

Are there laws that prohibit people from directly intervening?

The story told in the video below helps answer those questions and several more, as well.

See how Butts navigated a challenging decision-making process as he witnessed a young eagle that appeared to be in distress.

Butts also happens to be an avid eagle photographer.  The eaglet’s dramatic story unfolds through his lens.

Butts shared his video with me for the purpose of making this video.

Photographer Christian Sasse of British Columbia graciously provided additional video and photographs for this project.

It’s my hope that this video will prove both compelling and educational, resulting in an effective teaching tool.

Please feel free to share.


Jeff Butts’ website:

Christian Sasse on Facebook:

Hancock Wildlife Foundation: