Search for Eagles report, Feb. 10
By Jack Padalino, Pocono Environmental Education Center and the Brandwein Institute
This season’s third Brandwein Institute Search for Eagles took place in the Delaware Valley on Sunday, Feb. 10, from 12 p.m. to 4:45 p.m. The temperature at the start was 32 degrees and at the finish 35 degrees. It was a cold sunny to late afternoon cloudy day. Black-capped chickadee, tufted titmouse and dark-eyed junco were among the few perching birds we saw. We logged 132 miles in the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area and Upper Delaware Scenic River from the Historic Callahan House to the trip’s conclusion at the headwaters of the Lackawaxen River.
Jack Padalino, president emeritus of the Brandwein Institute, a partner with the National Park Service, led the search with 8 participants that recorded 25 species of birds including 29 bald eagles, 2 turkey vultures, and 4 red-tailed hawks.
The first raptor of the day was an adult bald eagle west of Route 209 perched below the ridge at the north of the Dingmans Ferry Cemetery. Just before seeing the eagle I spotted two common ravens overhead. The bald eagle nest east of mile marker 16 has had eagles around it for the past few weeks. I discovered this nest this month when I watched 4 bald eagles on a deer carcass in the field below it. The nest at the mile marker 17 shale bank has been active recently; however, no bald eagles present today.
I was joined by 7 participants at the NPS Historic Callahan House where Keith Wheeler, Brandwein president was introduced, we shared introductions, Brandwein eagle materials were distributed, loaner binoculars were made available followed, by a quick “how to” on optics and locating birds using the binoculars. By carpooling we were able to reduce the number of vehicles in the caravan to four.
Our first stop was at the Metz Road eagle nest, great look, but no bald eagles present. On to the River Road, where we searched the trees near the upriver condominiums for bald eagles without success. Traveling north on Old Milford Road we stopped at a bald eagle's nest near the National Park Service's Pierce House, great look at the nest, but no bald eagles. We pulled off Route 209 at the Kittatinny Campground and watched a bald eagle soar to the right high above the ridge then disappear. At Cummings Road a red-tailed hawk was soaring. From the parking area near Walmart we watched a bald eagle high above the ridge. Further along 209N we spotted 2 turkey vultures in flight. A red-tailed hawk was perched atop a lamp post at the I-84 east bound exit near the PA Welcome Center, where we made a pit stop.
Port Jervis, Laurel Ridge Cemetery, was our next stop. We enjoyed the view at the confluence of the Minisink and Delaware Rivers near the Tri-states Monument, where NY, NJ, and PA converge. Downriver in the distance we spotted a bald eagle in flight. We checked the bald eagle nest at the cemetery, none were present.
We continued to Pond Eddy Farm overlook where 2 adult bald eagles soared overhead. We watched them for about 10 minutes and added ring-billed gulls coursing over the river.
Next on to Old Plank Road. We spotted an adult bald eagle in flight east of the road as well as a juvenile bald eagle soaring above who we watched for a few minutes and added Common Loon. Next stop at 2:20 p.m. was the Mongaup Falls observation blind. Five bald eagles were observed upriver from the blind; 3 perched adults an adult and juvenile in flight.
We returned to Plank Road and spotted a perched juvenile bald eagle that rapidly took flight. Moving slowly along the road we spotted an adult bald eagle standing on the ice at the edge of the water. We took a look at the bald eagle nest on the ridge, no bald eagles present.
We continued to the Rio Dam Road, no bald eagles were there.
As we approached the Pond Eddy nest sight we had hopes of seeing eagles at the nest that was once there. None at the former nest site; however, an adult bald eagle, our 15th, was perched high on the ridge above the cliffs at a favorite perch. We continued past the Pond Eddy bridge to Berm-Church Road which is usually a hot spot for sighting eagles. None were there. Our next bald eagle was perched on a dead tree snag east of the highway. The Wheelers spotted a bald eagle feasting on a deer carcass at Camp Telehude.
In Barryville along the road that parallels the river we stopped at the yellow house, looked across the river and rediscovered the bald eagle nest. No bald eagle there or at Minisink Ford Observation Blind.
We stopped at NPS restrooms proximal to the Roebling Bridge, where The Eagle Institute which provides visitors with a video of area eagles, brochures, newsletters, and other information about eagles is located. There is a gift shop and the Institute is open weekends December through March.
An adult bald eagle was perched at the confluence of the Lackawaxen and Delaware rivers. From the parking area we looked at the mature bald eagle perched across the Lackawaxen. Above us on the north side of the Lackawaxen river near the Delaware is an active relocated bald eagle nest just over the ridge.
By the time we reached the Lackawaxen we had seen 18 bald eagles.
We traveled upstream along the Lackawaxen to the PPL Dam site and added an 11 bald eagles. Sightings occurred at Hotel Road, Church Road, Evangaldsen Road, Swing Bridge, Appert Road, and beyond.
Editor's note: Jack Padalino is president emeritus of the Pocono Environmental Education Center (PEEC) and the Brandwein Institute, a partner with the National Park Service. Join the next Search for Eagles expeditions on March 3 and 10. RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org or 570-296-6752 and leave a message.
WHAT WE SAWIn addition to the 29 bald eagles, common ravens, red-tailed hawks, and turkey vultures, we saw:
Pileated woodpecker (3)
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