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Baltimore by the Sea

Monday, November 18, 2013

Wings Over the Susquehanna

A bit of fall color near the Conowingo Dam Visitor Center
Yay! Today was Kirk's day off and he thought I might enjoy a little eagle watching. So off we drove, through the beautiful Maryland countryside, to Conowingo Dam, which crosses the Susquehanna River in the far northwest of Maryland.

When we reached the Dam, we drove over it and then back again, and that got us our first view of a Bald Eagle not far off over the river. Cheers! We decided to drop in at the Visitor Center to find out where the eagle viewing was best.

We had a lovely chat with a visitor center lady who told us the dam has an annual Eagle photography contest. We took some time to view contest entries on a TV. The photos were awesome!

I totally enjoy seeing the education exhibits; I'm a Visitor Center junkie.
The lady directed us to the eagle viewing area, a short drive down to the river front. There was not only immediately saw lots of Baldies, but loads of eagle watchers.

Kirk heading from the walkway down to the waterfront viewing area
Fans of Eagles on the watch
An adult Baldie winging past the dam
There were eagles everywhere. The eagle viewers - with their spotting scopes and huge long lens at the ready - would perk up any time one of the distant eagles flew in to our side of the river. I had my little long lens with me and was tickled to get a few shots of an eagle that successfully snagged its lunch.


Fish in tow, the eagle sailed into some trees and there, enjoyed its lunch at leisure.

I got at least a couple of dozen shots of eagles and that was enough to teach me the birds were not easy to photograph. It wasn't that they were all over the place and moving at a fast clip, but I noted while the dark brown bodies tended to photograph well. the same was not true for the white heads, which tended to look washed out. I had no clue how to adjust my camera for that, so I came to appreciate the skill of those who won accolades in the Dam's eagle photography competition.

Boomerang Shot
Screaming Juvenile Baldie
 On the entertainment committee were adult eagles, stealing fish from the yearling eagles. There was a wall by the dam where the juvenile baldies hung out. We got to see an adult snitch a fish from a flustered juvie. 

Three Adults and three juvenile eagles - fish thievery by the adults was rampant
Loved the time we spent at the dam. I happened to meet the guy who won the 2013 Eagle photo contest. He was very nice and shocked me by saying he is NOT a birder! He just loves photographing eagles for his entertainment. Should have asked him the secret of getting both an eagle's head and body in proper exposure.

After we left the Conowingo Dam, Kirk and I went to a couple of other birding spots. First we went to one where though we didn't see birds we did see this handsome fellow - can you see him?

This handsome White-tail buck was certain we couldn't see him
Next we visited Robert E. Lee park, where I've visited before. There is a dam there too, smaller but just as scenic as Conowingo.

Robert E. Lee Park

There were tiny surprises along the pathway which took all my self restraint not to pick up - particularly when I noted a few that had popped open contained chocolate candy bars and other tidbits.

The tots are carrying bags of candy
laden not-exactly-Easter eggs

Kirk and I must have spotted a dozen or more 'Easter eggs' as we walked along the pathways and past the dam. Finally it became apparent the eggs were not left over from last Easter, but were meant for a particular group of children, at the park with their guardians.

We had a nice chat with a Park Ranger who recommended we hike the wooden boardwalk that traverses Lee Park. We went along the path for a bit, and of course, I didn't get too far.  The afternoon was fairly chilly and it was surprising that the park was nearly bird-free. The only feathery park occupants in the park were a Tufted Titmouse, a Carolina Wren and one busy Great Blue Heron.

Loved this Heron and its shadow
All in all, I had a lovely time being outside today. As happens, with my having caught that awful cold and such, this was the only day of birding I've had on this east coast excursion. I have to thank Kirk for seeing I managed to get some time in with my feathered buds.

1 comment:

  1. Boy you really got 'skills', your photography is really good.