The following sequence of photos attempts to show what it's like being at a fall hawk watch site and seeing, in this instance, a golden eagle making a close approach. It's a magnificent feeling but difficult to convey the happiness of the experience. Imagine, here is an eagle flying hundreds of miles from Canada to be seen for a minute on its route south.
Jo Hays Vista has clears view to the north and west. Any migrant approaching is first seen as a speck, either in binoculars or by naked eye. At first, the speck is no larger than a piece of dust or a floater in one's eye, but - particularly for an eagle - moving on a straight and steady path indicates a raptor. At this point, the raptor may stay far away and remain no larger than a speck to observers. The "good" raptors continue their approach.
Having a telephoto lens on a digital camera helps enormously. The first detail that cries out, "golden eagle," is the golden V on the nape of the eagle's neck.