It's easy to see why these birds are so over-photographed and why they're chosen as a symbol of the U.S.: there's so much dignity inherent to the strength and economy of motion as they move purposefully through the air. The Haliaeetus Leucocephalus doesn't flutter, and America doesn't equivocate!
This is the same bird from the tree in the last photograph. After I packed up the tripod, s/he followed me back to my car, flying a few circles overhead, which afforded me this view with light coming through his/her** feathers, exposing loads of detail. Thanks, bird, for throwing a marginally less cliched shot my way. Whether s/he was circling me out of curiosity or to consider attack, you decide.
Photo Nerdery: I had a hard time getting used to the gimbal head that I rented along with the 300mm f/2.8. After a few panning flights, I ended up only using it for far-off birds in trees, which is to say that I could've used my standard head. I'm so much more comfortable with moving subjects off tripod. In fact, if I'd had the rig mounted to the gimbal, I would have missed this completely vertical shot. Though, if I were more gimbal-adept, I'm sure the other shots would have been sharper.
**If anyone seeing this can sex the bird in question, let me know. I know that females are larger, but birds with 5-7 feet wing spans all look huge to me.