Candid photos of a rare eagle visiting the Gaspé Peninsula taken by a father-son duo


Steller’s sea eagle that can be seen flying on both sides of Chaleur Bay – in New Brunswick and the Gaspé – not only amazes bird watchers; earlier this month, she also allowed biologist Pierre Etcheverry and his son Antoine to bond.

“It put us on the same page,” Etcheverry said. “Being able to share that, father and son, is difficult to express but it gives a certain satisfaction.”

Etcheverry says news spread quickly when the eagle, an endangered species native to eastern Russia, was spotted on the Gaspé Peninsula in early July.

On Friday July 9, he and his son set off to try and catch a glimpse.

“I ran into a friend of mine who is very well connected [in the birdwatching community]”He said.” He said to me, ‘If you want to see the eagle, this is where he is, I just saw him maybe an hour ago.’ “

The Etcheverries first saw the bird from a distance, near the York River estuary, but Pierre Etcheverry says the lighting and background were not ideal. The couple decided to hike to the other side to try and get a better view, a quick decision that ultimately paid off.

“[With] hopefully we ended up in a place where all the conditions were right, “said Etcheverry.” The other side gave us enough altitude that we were practically face to face with the eagle. “

Biologist Pierre Etcheverry says this photo of a Steller’s sea eagle interacting with a few red-shouldered blackbirds is one of the most striking in a series of photographs taken by his son, Antoine. (Antoine Etcheverry / Wildest Moods)

Etcheverry says his son was using the camera for the series of striking images. The two were hidden a few hundred yards away in the forest and he says seeing the eagle perched on top of a tree, being disturbed by a few plunging shouldered blackbirds makes the images unique.

“It’s the kind of thing you only see once in a lifetime,” he said. “And there is a relationship between different species, a really peculiar situation that shows the behavior [of the birds]. “

“In an animal photo, this is what we are looking for: something that goes beyond a simple representation of the species.”

Etcheverry works in Forillon National Park and has been a parallel wildlife photographer for 30 years. His son Antoine took his first photo at the age of seven, but has spent the last 15 years playing guitar and composing classical music Рhe only recently returned behind the lens, having moved to Gasp̩ to work.

Father and son are now working together on Wildest Moods, a nature and wildlife-focused photo, video and graphic design project.

“Life has taken me in other directions but now we are both together in Gaspé,” said Antoine Etcheverry.

“It’s a great team effort and a great experience. I think we are able to both learn things together and develop our skills.”

Antoine Etcheverry, left, and his father Pierre, a biologist, work together on an exciting project called Wildest Moods, taking photos, creating videos and writing short texts to accompany their encounters with wildlife and their shared experiences in nature. (Submitted by Diane Ostiguy)

Pierre Etcheverry says he thinks Antoine enjoys the chance to express himself creatively outside of music and looks forward to spending more time with him outside.

“Not only does he like [taking pictures], he also took some very good ones! “, he declared.

“We pursue this passion together, this passion for nature and for sharing what we experience there.


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