Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Searching for Eagles, Friends

Photo taken at National Aviary, Pittsburgh, PA
We took a drive to a park in the next county north on Saturday to see if we could find any eagles which are rumored to be nesting there. Standing at the edge of Lake Arthur at Moraine State Park, watching some high schoolers rowing their crew boats, we noticed four really large birds flying overhead, back and forth.

It didn't take much of a jump for us to think that here were the wild and wonderful eagles we had heard about. We stood for a while longer, but then lost track of the big birds. Since we have been going to this park for years and years, and we always seem to drive the same, short loop, we were interested in expanding our visit, so we stopped at the ranger office to get a map of the park.

When we told one of the rangers, who was working his first day in the park, that we thought we had maybe -- sort-of -- kind of seen eagles, he said, politely I thought, probably not. What you probably saw, he went on, were ospreys or turkey vultures, which burst our birding bubble for sure. These two birds are also large,of course, and are easier to spot in the park.

To try and find some real eagles, we took his advice and drove onto Rt. 528 till we got to the bridge he had pointed out to us. Pull into that boat launch under the "528 bridge", and look to the opposite side of the lake. That's conservation land and that's where the eagles actually are nesting, he told us.

We stood there for awhile, but saw no more avian activitiy, just some boats being put into the water.

Undaunted though, we plan to go back to the right spot this time and see if we can find some of the magnificent creatures. It is so reassuring to know that these birds are healthy and living right here in Pennsylvania again.

To find the eagles, look at this map of the park. Locate Rt. 528 on the map, and look for the bridge which has a boat launch symbol next to it as well as a restroom sign. There is a sign along that highway for "528 Boat Launch" and this is where you turn.

We also found the Waterfowl Observation Area deck off Old Rt. 422 (noted on the map) and saw a couple of Great Egrets, which are very cool looking, and of course, we saw a lot of other waterfowl.

This spring and summer, I hope you have time to explore this park or any of the others located near you. The kdis would love it (we did.)

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