Eagle Watch: A Canoe-Kayak Expedition
at Bald Eagle State Park, Pennsylvania
April 30, 2005


Despite receiving various directions and taking several trips to Bald Eagle State Park, Pennsylvania, neither Sue nor I could spot the bald eagle nest. That is, not until a kindly fisherman used his fishing pole to point to the proper tree.

The nest was not particularly obvious (it's in the upper quarter of the tree between a fork).
White pine tree with bald eagle nest
Not one to give up the hope of a suitable photograph, I tried a variety of lenses and a telescope for a multiple of indifferent photos.

My photography break came when the park, in cooperation with Tussey Mountain Outfitters (TMO), had a kayak-canoe eagle watch on April 29. (Sue and I rented a canoe from TMO.) The only bummer (photographically speaking) was the dark, overcast weather. Compensation was in meeting interesting people and in getting closer to an eagle's nest than I have ever been. Ed (from TMO) also provided a waterproof bag, so I could take my camera along without fears of its having a dunking.

Ranger Spring Reilly led the watch, taking us (an assortment of 20 or so kayaks and canoes) across the lake, somewhat to the west of the actual nest. (It's illegal to be directly under a bald eagle nest or disturb a bald eagle.) She told us that there were two eaglets (the first being born in mid-March and the second a week or two later).

The following is a large portrait of one of the parent bald eagles with an eaglet looking upward.

Bald eagle, nest, and eaglet

The following is a silhouette of the above eaglet. (The eaglets would occasionally appear, drop back into the nest, stretch a wing, and/or fall asleep.)
Eaglet silhouette

It was a wonderful way to spend the evening. There's supposed to be another eagle watch in June, so I'll be trying once again.

For more information (update of May 8):

  • The park's own site: Bald Eagle State Park, Pennsylvania
  • If you want to learn about, rent, or buy a canoe or kayak: Tussey Mountain Outfitters
  • Once you find the spot for eagle watching at the end of the park road Hunter Run, you'll probably come across Ron Shaffer. He not only is among the more friendly park volunteers but also has beautiful photos of the eagles (as well as other wildlife), two scopes set up so visitors can clearly see the nest, and a visitor log that everyone should sign.
Photo note: I used a Pentax *istD, with the SMC A* 300mm lens for the tree, and the 300mm lens with a doubler for the eagle photos (1600ASA at an average an 80th of a second: it was dark and I was in a canoe).  

The May 2005 or June 2006 eagle paddle   |   A bald eagle flight

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