Oak Bay resident stumbles upon eagle hunting seal, grabs camera just in time

Oak Bay resident Jacques Sirois happened upon an eagle hunting a yearling seal. (Photo courtesy Jacques Sirois)
The eagle dragged its prey through the water. (Photo courtesy Jacques Sirois)
The large bird of prey hauled its heavy prey out of the water revealing a young seal. (Photo courtesy Jacques Sirois)
The eagle quickly started in on its meal. (Photo courtesy Jacques Sirois)
Sirois still managed to capture the long-billed dowitcher he’d set out to photograph. (Photo courtesy Jacques Sirois)

An Oak Bay resident was in for a surprise while out in his kayak when he encountered an eagle hunting a mid-sized seal.

Jacques Sirois, a biologist, was paddling in McNeill Bay on May 8 when he spotted a long-billed dowitcher – a shorebird that forages in the mud and sand. Sirois pulled out his camera in hopes of capturing a photo when he noticed an eagle had also zeroed in on the dowitcher.

READ ALSO: ‘Go home’: Alberta-registered vehicles vandalized in B.C. border town amid COVID-19

The large bird of prey decided to put on a show – it swooped in but missed its mark, Sirois said. The frustrated eagle also missed another shorebird before setting its sights on a much larger target – a seal.

The eagle dove down to the water suddenly, he said. It captured something heavy and dragged it about 100 metres through the water as Sirois watched from his kayak – camera in hand.

“The eagle did a perfect butterfly stroke to shore” before hauling its catch out of the ocean, revealing the seal, he explained. Sirois guessed the seal was about one year old – a yearling – as it was too big to be a pup but clearly not full grown.

“It was a totally unplanned event,” Sirois said, adding how surprised he was to see the eagle move through the water with such a heavy animal in its talons. “I was in the right place at the right time.”

Sirois pointed out that there’s a pair of eagles who live in the area and he’s seen them hunting before but never something so big.

READ ALSO: Langford siblings perform rap to cheer those stuck at home

“They’re very busy hunting around south Oak Bay” and often perch on the Trial Islands lighthouse, Sirois said.

While he was excited to capture the moment on camera, Sirois isn’t planning on framing the photos – because he simply has too many nature shots from many years of exploring the area.

“We are lucky to have so much nature here in the city,” he said.


@devonscarlett
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

devon.bidal@saanichnews.com

Birdwatchingoak bayPhotographyseals

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

PHOTOS: Gallery explores ‘broken promises’ during Japanese Canadian internment in 1940s

‘Broken Promises’ to acknowledge the thousands of Japanese Canadians who faced dispossession

Four-storey Oak Bay Avenue development to have rooftop garden

Redfern 35-unit development sent to public hearing

Heavy rains cause wastewater overflow off Oak Bay, Saanich beaches

Affected beaches will be posted with public health advisory signs

No plan in place if Sooke homeless shelter forced to shut doors

Contract for Otter Road facility now month to month

B.C. reports 91 new cases as officials remain worried over ‘clusters of COVID-19

There have now been a total of 8,395 cases in B.C. since the pandemic began

POLL: Do you agree with the decision to call a provincial election for Oct. 24?

British Columbians will put their social distancing skills to the test when… Continue reading

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Sooke Philharmonic introduces new quartet

SPO presents first online concert Oct. 5

B.C. Green leader says NDP abandoning environmental plan

Horgan’s claim of unstable government false, Furstenau says

‘Won’t be gathering for Thanksgiving:’ Trudeau says COVID-19 2nd wave underway

In all, COVID-19 has killed about 9,250 people in Canada

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Sept. 22

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS

Liberal effort to reset policy agenda panned by rivals as too much talk, not action

Trudeau said it’s ‘all too likely’ families won’t be able to gather for Thanksgiving next month

Most Read