Season's final Search for Eagles logs 140 miles

Watchers record 25 species from the Callahan House in Milford to the headwaters of the Lackawaxen

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Spotted on season's final search

In addition to the 24 bald eagles, 2 red-tailed hawks, and a common raven we saw:
Canada goose
American black duck
Common merganser
Wild turkey
Ring-billed gull
Bald eagle
Red-tailed hawk
Downy woodpecker
Hairy woodpecker
Pileated woodpecker
Rock pigeon
Mourning dove
Blue jay
American crow
Common raven
Belted kingfisher
Tree swallow
White-breasted nuthatch
Black-capped chickadee
Tufted titmouse
European starling
American goldfinch
Dark-eyed junco

By Jack Padalino

The season’s final Brandwein Institute half-day Search for Eagles took place in the Delaware Valley on Sunday, March 10, from noon to 6 p.m. The temperature at the start was 41 degrees and at the finish 36 degrees. It was a cloudy, misty, and at times foggy day. We logged 140 miles in the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area and Upper Delaware Scenic River from the Callahan House to the trip’s conclusion at the headwaters of the Lackawaxen River.

We recorded 25 species of birds including 24 bald eagles, 2 red-tailed hawks, common raven, and a tree swallow. A number bald eagles we observed were adults in or at a nest or near open water of the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area and Scenic Upper Delaware. Eagles we saw were perched, and in flight.

Metz Road — The first raptor of the day was an adult bald eagle perched near the Metz Road nest. From Route 209 mile marker 16 an adult bald eagle was seen in the nest which is east of the highway at the edge of the field in a white pine close to the river. Another adult was perched nearby. At the north end of the shale pit near mile marker 17 is a bald eagle nest that has had birds around it for the past few weeks but none were present today. This nest site has been active for the past few years.

From the river road we spotted an adult bald eagle perched near the condominiums at the end of Bennnett Avenue. We drove to the site to get closer look at the bird, it cooperated.

Old Milford Road — Next, was the nest on Old Milford Road near the NPS Pierce House. A pair of adult bald eagles were present. At first we used the spotting scope to look at the bald eagle in the nest. Within a few minutes another bald eagle with a stick in its beak flew to the nest and swapped places with the bird at the nest. We watched as the displaced bald eagle flew above and landed in a nearby tree. The first time we located this nest a few months ago, we heard but did on see a bald eagle. We moved on to the Kittatinny Campground where for a number of years there was an active eagle’s nest halfway up the cliff in a White Pine about twenty yards west of the west bound lane on Interstate 84. The nest is gone; however, we still see bald eagles as well as common ravens in the area.

Tri-States Monument — We enjoyed a pit stop at the Pennsylvania Welcome Center then proceeded to the Laurel Grove Cemetery in Port Jervis to view the Delaware from the Tri-States monument. We added Canada goose, mallard, and common mergansers. No bald eagle was at the cemetery nest.

Hawks Nest — At Eddy Farm Resort overlook we watched Canada Geese fly by. From the Hawks Nest overlook we spotted a juvenile bald eagle flying down river beneath us. We watched as it flew and perched in Pennsylvania across from us. As this happened another juvenile bald eagle soared above the river. We searched without success for the Peregrine Falcon.

We added four more bald eagles between the Hawks Nest and Mill Rift bridge. The first we spotted was an adult perched in the White Pine on the PA side where there once was a huge nest. A second adult was perched in their favorite white pine high above us on the ridge. The next were two juveniles perched on the same branch. One was larger than the other, probably a female. I was able to capture their image and attach it to this report.

Mongaup Falls — Next stop was the Mongaup Falls Observation Blind. We crossed the bridge and spotted a perched juvenile bald eagle up stream. We doubled back to get a better look at the bird who took flight and flew ten yards above us. On Plank Road we spotted a perched juvenile bald eagle. Moving slowly along the road we spotted an adult bald eagle perched in a white pine with a nest high on the ridge. As we watched, a second adult bald eagle flew into the nest. We continued to the Rio Dam Road, no bald eagle at the dam

We returned to the Delaware at 3:30 p.m. and traveled upriver. Our 16th bald eagle was an adult perched near the river at the Kittatinny Canoe Pond Eddy camp site.

Barryville — 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. Our 17th bald eagle for the day was a juvenile perched atop a dead tree on the Pennsylvania side of the river across from us. No bald eagle was at Minisink Ford Observation Blind.

Roebling Bridge — We traveled north to the Roebling Bridge in New York and crossed to the Pennsylvania side. Proximal to the Roebling Bridge is The Eagle Institute NPS visitor center, which provides visitors with a video of area eagles, brochures, newsletters, and other information about eagles is. There is a gift shop and the Institute is open weekends December through March.

Lackawaxen River — A juvenile bald eagle was perched at the confluence of the Lackawaxen and Delaware rivers. It was here that we added the tree swallow. By the time we reached the Lackawaxen we had seen 18 bald eagles.

Traveling upstream along the Lackawaxen to the PPL Dam site we saw an additional six bald eagles. An adult was perched upstream from the Rowlands Bridge another was perched upstream from Church Road, and another at Swinging Bridge. The remaining three were juveniles perched and spotted near Engvaldsen, Appert, and Gelderman Roads.

Looking ahead to next winterThe next full-day Search for Eagles will be held on the first Sunday of December 2019 and January, February, and March 2020 — weather permitting. Meet 8 a.m. at the Pocono Environmental Education Center or at 10 a.m. at the north entrance to the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, Route 209, mile marker 20.

Half-day searches will be held on the second Sunday of the month. Meet at noon at the north entrance to the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, Route 209, mile marker 20.

Dress warmly, bring binoculars, field guides, and a lunch.

To participate email and leave a message.

Jack Padalino, leader of the Search for Eagles, is president emeritus of the Brandwein Institute, a partner with the National Park Service.

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