Trips: Eagles And Other Waterfowl On The James River, Virginia

One of the remarkable environmental stories is the restoration of the James River in central Virginia. A few decades ago this river was largely dead. As a result of a dramatic commitment to stop the pesticides and pollutants, the river has come back to life. This fall I decided it was time to explore this amazing river and the large colony of bald eagles, herons, cormorants and more that now call this river home. Indeed, the James River is now one of the most important eagle habitats in the continental United States.

A great blue heron squawks at a boater to slow down.

A great blue heron squawks at a boater to slow down. Photo © copyright by Ed Fuhr.

A great blue heron flies slowly across the still waters of the James River.

A great blue heron flies slowly across the still waters of the James River. Photo © copyright by Ed Fuhr.

Canadaian geese and ducks blast off in the morning fog on the James RIver.

Canadaian geese and ducks blast off in the morning fog on the James RIver. Photo © copyright by Ed Fuhr.

Dozens of geese lift off in the fog.

Dozens of geese lift off in the fog. Photo © copyright by Ed Fuhr.

Hundreds of waterfowl beat a wary retreat as we slowly pull away from the pier.

Hundreds of waterfowl beat a wary retreat as we slowly pull away from the pier. Photo © copyright by Ed Fuhr.

A bald eagle banks to take a closer look for fish in the James River.

A bald eagle banks to take a closer look for fish in the James River. Photo © copyright by Ed Fuhr.

A bald eagle prepares to strike.

A bald eagle prepares to strike. Photo © copyright by Ed Fuhr.

A bald eagle circles overhead.

A bald eagle circles overhead. Photo © copyright by Ed Fuhr.

A cormorant lifts off from the fog shrouded waters of the James River, Virginia.

A cormorant lifts off from the fog shrouded waters of the James River, Virginia. Photo © copyright by Ed Fuhr.

A cormorant gradually powers up from the James River in the early fog of a new day.

A cormorant gradually powers up from the James River in the early fog of a new day. Photo © copyright by Ed Fuhr.

A cormorant leads us through the fog.

A cormorant leads us through the fog. Photo © copyright by Ed Fuhr.

A bald eagle rises after a successful strike.

A bald eagle rises after a successful strike. Photo © copyright by Ed Fuhr.

A bald eagle rises from the James River reflecting fall's colors.

A bald eagle rises from the James River reflecting fall's colors. Photo © copyright by Ed Fuhr.

Great blue herons are ferocious birds, capable of eating dozens of fish per day, piercing them at time and swallowing them whole...

Great blue herons are ferocious birds, capable of eating dozens of fish per day, piercing them at time and swallowing them whole. Photo © copyright by Ed Fuhr.

Nicknamed Bandit, a bald eagle flies with its catch across the autumn-colored waters of the James River.

Nicknamed Bandit, a bald eagle flies with its catch across the autumn-colored waters of the James River. Photo © copyright by Ed Fuhr.

A great blue heron fluffs its feathers after swallowing another fish.

A great blue heron fluffs its feathers after swallowing another fish. Photo © copyright by Ed Fuhr.

A bald eagle nicknamed Bandit flies with its fish to a nearby tree.

A bald eagle nicknamed Bandit flies with its fish to a nearby tree. Photo © copyright by Ed Fuhr.

The warm early light of morning strikes a bald eagle as it circles higher.

The warm early light of morning strikes a bald eagle as it circles higher. Photo © copyright by Ed Fuhr.

A bald eagle sweeps across the morning sky.

A bald eagle sweeps across the morning sky. Photo © copyright by Ed Fuhr.

Early morning light, a bald eagle above you and the company of good friends:  a morning to remember.

Early morning light, a bald eagle above you and the company of good friends: a morning to remember. Photo © copyright by Ed Fuhr.

A bald eagle circles for a closer look.

A bald eagle circles for a closer look. Photo © copyright by Ed Fuhr.

A blue heron flies low just above the James River, Virginia.

A blue heron flies low just above the James River, Virginia. Photo © copyright by Ed Fuhr.

A bald eagle circles before preparing to strike an unsuspecting fish.

A bald eagle circles before preparing to strike an unsuspecting fish. Photo © copyright by Ed Fuhr.

A cormorant reflects in the still waters of the James River.

A cormorant reflects in the still waters of the James River. Photo © copyright by Ed Fuhr.

In an autumn oak a banded bald eagle surveys the waters of the James River for her next meal.

In an autumn oak a banded bald eagle surveys the waters of the James River for her next meal. Photo © copyright by Ed Fuhr.

A bald eagle poses before the brights golds and yellow of autumn's leaves.

A bald eagle poses before the brights golds and yellow of autumn's leaves. Photo © copyright by Ed Fuhr.

A bald eagle glides silently above the river in search of her next meal.

A bald eagle glides silently above the river in search of her next meal. Photo © copyright by Ed Fuhr.

An immature bald eagle loses hold of its fish prey.

An immature bald eagle loses hold of its fish prey. Photo © copyright by Ed Fuhr.

A bald eagle fans its tail and curves its wings as it slows to get a closer look.

A bald eagle fans its tail and curves its wings as it slows to get a closer look. Photo © copyright by Ed Fuhr.

Dozens of cormorants fly through the early morning light above the James River.

Dozens of cormorants fly through the early morning light above the James River. Photo © copyright by Ed Fuhr.

A bald eagle approaches an unsuspecting fish.

A bald eagle approaches an unsuspecting fish. Photo © copyright by Ed Fuhr.

A bald eagle strikes for breakfast.

A bald eagle strikes for breakfast. Photo © copyright by Ed Fuhr.

An eagle prepares to strike.

An eagle prepares to strike. Photo © copyright by Ed Fuhr.

A bald eagle rises from the James River with dinner secured for herself and her young chicks.

A bald eagle rises from the James River with dinner secured for herself and her young chicks. Photo © copyright by Ed Fuhr.