Oak Bay man 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

Photography

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

Just Posted

Cheri Mactier celebrates 20 years in Ladysmith real estate

After 20 years in town, Mactier’s daughter, Brianne Mactier is joining the family business

Exhibit showcases one side of artist’s wide-ranging personality

Skagfeld takes something from all of her life experiences

VIDEO: Internet famous Yukon-based bhangra dancer explores Vancouver Island

Gurdeep Pandher spreads joy through dance, forms cross-cultural connections amid pandemic

First downtown parklet patio installed on 1st Avenue

Social distancing regulations will determine the total seat count

LSS students make video to commemorate 2020 musical

The LSS production of Newsies was cancelled due to COVID-19

B.C. records 30-50 new COVID-19 cases a day over weekend, no new deaths

Many of those testing positive were identified by contact tracing for being linked to other confirmed infections

Five B.C. First Nations call out Canada for ‘discriminatory’ food fish practices

West Coast nations say government ignoring court-won right to chinook and coho

Rent-relief program becomes new front in fight between Liberals, opposition

Opposition trying to draw parallels between decision to have Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. run program and the WE controversy

Nanaimo woman will buy ‘supersonic’ hair dryer after $500,000 lotto win

Debra Allen won $500,000 in July 28 Lotto Max draw

Ottawa sets minimum unemployment rate at 13.1% for EI calculation

Statistics Canada says the unemployment rate was 10.9 per cent in July

Cougar euthanized after attacking little dog in Qualicum area

Owner freed pet by whacking big cat, but dog didn’t survive the attack

$45K in donations received after couple’s sudden death in Tulameen

Sarah MacDermid, 31, and Casey Bussiere, 37, died August long weekend

Most Read