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Conowingo Eagles

Discussion in 'Special Sessions, Events, and Tour Announcements' started by Jim Strathearn, Dec 17, 2005.

  1. Although it would appear that most of the eagles have left the area, I have heard from what I consider to be a reliable source that the birds are very likely to still be in the general area. The guy who loaned me his 500mm used to shoot them there often and says that its been more luck then anything that they have been there on the Saturdays we have gone down to shoot. He says it's more or less a hit and miss thing, but they are still there. If I'm reading this correctly, this website would tend to agree with that: http://harfordbirdclub.org/conowingo.html. It says they are there from mid October to March.

    The last time we was there, we noticed some eagles perched on a tree on the deep water side of the dam. This was on a day when the dam was flowing a large amount of water through flood gates. I will scope out all the trails on that side of the dam and see if they are over there when they are not on the down river side of the dam. The above web site cites good light at all times in those locations and it appears that this would be correct.

    I may be able to get down there this Sunday morning, but the weather is supposed to be mostly cloudy. However, I can use it as a scouting opportunity... I also have the week between Christmas and New years off. My company just changed it's vacation schedule to allow for this and as of right now, we have no plans for that time, although that could change. (Gordon, I may also check out this place during that week to look for snow geese. If I do, I'll give you a shout.)

    I had been PM'ing several people regarding the eagles at the dam and thought this might be a better way to coordinate prospective shoots. If there is any interest in coming down/up to shoot, let me know.
  2. Jim,

    Where exactly is Conowingo Dam? I have heard of this place but I do not know why or how. I am orignally from York, PA and if I weren't in Italy right now I would go along with you. I will be back permanently in May attending college. Happy shooting.

    God Bless,
  3. David,

    Conowingo Dam is located where US Route 1 crosses the Susquehanna River. Looking at a map, there are two major road bridges south of the dam; US Route 40 and I-95. The next "bridge" up river from the I-95 bridge is the dam. It is about a half hour from my home in Delta, which is in the southern most part of York County. Click HERE for a map.

    Maybe we'll see you there next winter!
  4. Jim,

    Are there any good shooting ops during Jan.? I will be home on Jan 18-Feb 8 for leave.

  5. This is my first year shooting down there so I'm not sure. If I can get a better handle on where these guys hang out, then perhaps we'll still be shooting during the time your home. Send me a note just before you come home and I'll let you know what's up.
  6. Jim,
    I am going to check out another Eagle location today. It is near west point, Va and will report on what I find there as well.
  7. Let me know how you make out Dave.
  8. Gordon Large

    Gordon Large Guest

    Harris Brown and I got up at zero o'clock to get to Conowingo early last Sunday, and we completely struck out. First we stood around and chatted with other photogs because the place was completely socked in by fog. When the fog cleared the sky had turned very overcast and the light was lousy. We did see maybe a half dozen eagles, but they were all either too far out on the river or just black blobs in the trees behind us. We came away without a single shot. :frown: To make things worse, some of the locals told us they counted 30 eagles the prior weekend and had great shooting weather. :mad:  FWIW, the locals thought there were only permanent residents left. Obviously with some luck on a good day that could still make for good shooting. So Jim and anyone else who goes there, good luck!

    Joe - I will be very interested in what you find at Middle Creek. Good luck there too!

  9. I went to Caledron state park on the potomac. Two things noted,
    a 1.7 mile hike to the viewing area, and then a 500 yard closed barrier zone in the main activity area. Will be very taxing and difficult to get good images here imho.
    There were approx 10 eagles sited, some doing the "breeding clasp" but just too far away. I lugged about 40lbs of gear 3 1/2 miles and took 7 pictures-----of songbirds!
  10. Gordon Large

    Gordon Large Guest

    Dave -

    ROFLMAO. Hope you got some great song bird images!

    More seriously, sorry you spent so much time and effort with no results.

  11. i hear ya Gordon. I did get a couple of really nice songbird shots and things do not alway go as planned. But I am glad you saw the humor.
  12. Sorry you struck out. I knew it was supposed to be overcast so we didn't go. I was hoping to get down there this week but with Christmas fast approaching, I doubt that I can. I do have the week between Christmas and New Years off so I will definitely get down there to scout out the whole place. I think it may be a matter of finding them rather then waiting for them to show...
  13. So, I take a ride down to the dam this morning without my camera just to see what the situation is and I should have brought my camera! :mad:  There were three mature eagles perched in trees at the parking lot. The highest one was about as far as the last one we photographed when Mike and Dave were at the dam. The other two were closer. One was in the first tree you come to on the river side as you enter the parking lot and it was not much higher then the one Mike photographed when he left the dam the first time. One mature eagle flew by the parking lot over the water and an immature flew into a tree as I was leaving. There were 5 in the power line structures that I could see. I wasn't there for more then 5 minutes. And did I mention that the lighting was perfect? This was around 9:45 AM.

    It appears as though the access to the high water side of the dam is restricted.

    Next time I'll bring my camera! Oh, one more thing of note; there were NO photographers there - just eagles. Maybe I'll make a point of visiting there during the work week!

    Hopefully next time I'll have some pics! :rolleyes: 
  14. sort of a good news/bad news thingy:eek: 
  15. LOL! I see it as good news. Sure, I don't have 80 eagles to choose from. BUT, if I can get one to pose 50' away from me I'm happy. :wink: Maybe the lack of people during the week gives them more of a comfort level to roost a little lower...

    Next time I'll have my camera with me for sure! :Whistle:
  16. Gordon Large

    Gordon Large Guest

    Hey Jim -

    Which is the high water side of the dam and why do I care whether it is restricted? Is there an access point that I don't know about? The only place I know is cross the dam on Rte 1 heading South and make a left turn (maybe two) down to the parking lot.

  17. Gordon,

    I guess I should have said the "deep water" side of the dam as opposed to the "high water" side...

    I posted a link to the local bird club's write up of birds at the dam and they referred to the access points on the high water side of the dam. The last time Mike and I were shooting at the dam we saw several eagles perched and soaring over the high water side of the dam. I just tried to investigate that side of the dam. The access is restricted and I do not believe we are allowed there anymore. That write-up must be pre-9/11.

    Why do you care if it's restricted? You in particular was asking about other species of birds. There seems to be an abundance of other species on the deep water side of the dam... Me - I'm just interested in the eagles.

  18. I had a chance to visit Conowingo again today. I brought my camera this time :rolleyes:  but there didn't seem to be much action. The locals there told me that on Saturday the place was packed w/eagles. One fella told me that he had a shot w/8 in the frame, and several w/4 in the frame. Another guy told me that they counted 36 of them just yesterday but the lighting wasn't good. I got a shot of a juvie today but I went out w/the 80-400 VR and monopod. The only thing I can tell you for certain is that combo isn't good enough for heavy crops! :wink: Today, I walked the path between the dam and the state park and only saw about three; one juvie that I shot and two matures in flight. They are goose hunting across the river and the gun blasts seem to make them move on... A pro that I know was there today. He told me that when he walked the path last, there was a large flock of eagles back in there!

    So, it's a hit and miss. However, there are definitely eagles there. They probably put on a better show in November, but at least they are still there. I'll probably stop in on a regular basis and check them out. I need to get some better opportunities w/the 400 then I needed w/the 500, that's for sure! And, I have to drag out my tripod as well, but hopefully I'll be able to get some more keepers!
  19. hey Jim,
    I have to be in Glen burnie on the 13th for a meeting, I am thinking of staying over and trying to shoot again on the 14th. you interested? keep you eyes and ears open on them till then. we can let mike and gordan know whats up too
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