Ken Dumont was at home when a friend sent him a frantic note that a bald eagle was sitting on Wascana Lake. The friend sent him some pictures, but Dumont was skeptical.
"I thought he was a fat cat," he said of the eagle.
Dumont took his camera down and, sure enough, saw the large predatory bird. He tried to take some shots but the lighting wasn't great. The next day on a walk, Dumont couldn't believe the eagle was back again — close to the shore this time.
"I got about 1,800 shots of him and it just so happened when I was shooting him, taking photos of him, I caught him in flight and also eating. Getting him eating a carp," Dumont said.
"It's an experience I'll never forget. Having a bald eagle in Regina is one thing. But having a bald eagle on the ice in Wascana ... the chance of that happening again is slim."
Dumont has been calling the bald eagle Edward. Dumont said he was inspired to give it a name after two local ducks were named Romeo and Juliet. The eagle was around for almost a week before it left, Dumont said. He hasn't seen the bird since around March 23.
"I'm just overwhelmed that I can take those pictures and share them with everybody," Dumont said. "And I'm hoping he can come back."
Sarah Romuld said bald eagles aren't uncommon in Wascana Centre, but they only stop by during the fall or late-March and early April. The Wascana Centre ecologist said Regina is a stop for them on their migratory journeys. However, she said Edward was special.
"He was delighting people with his hunting prowess, with his fishing abilities in plain sight," Romuld said.
Romuld said Edward most likely has moved along, but might just be checking out areas surrounding the city. Bald eagles typically nest in northern Saskatchewan, she said.
"They want a fish-rich lake and then they want somewhere that has a lot of tall, mature trees that they can nest up in," she said.
Rumold said she saw the photographs Dumont shared on the Sask Birders Facebook Page. She said they use a lot of the sightings from that page to track different species.
Rumold suggests that people out birding keep a safe distance to avoid causing stress for the animals.
"You can use binoculars. If you have a camera with a great lens zoom lens, you can use that to take photos and reference that also for books if you don't know that bird," she said.
Dumont said he wasn't expecting such a large response to his images on social media. Soon after he posted, he noticed others gathering in the park.
"People were walking around with cameras and binoculars trying to spot him, there was a lot of people that would normally not come to the park that were here trying," Dumont said. "It's a rare moment."
Dumont said he loves how nature photography is unpredictable like this. He started in 2015 after suffering a heart attack and was in intensive care for days before being stabilized. Upon recovering, he made some lifestyle changes, and started walking and seeing things through a different lens.
"They're just a phenomenal bird," he said of Edward. "Just to catch him for that special moment means a lot."
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