|Bald Eagles on Susquehanna River
In the Christmas Holiday Season, more than 20,000 fishing bird congregate on the Susquehanna River
near Highway 1 just below the Conowingo Dam in northern Maryland, USA to feast on the abundance
of fish here. They include seagulls, bald eagles (鵰), herons, cormorants, etc.
One of many bald eagles (鵰) in flight over Susquehanna River looking for fish. In such Christmas Holiday
Season, as many as 100 bald eagles have been sighted in this area catching fish. Bald eagles are big birds
with wing span up to 8 feet. In addition to some resident bald eagles in this area, many more bald eagles from
north migrate south in the winter season to this area to join the local bald eagles to feast on the abundance of
Another bald eagle in flight over the Susquehanna River fishing
The bald eagles are all over the places in this area in the winter season. Therefore, in such cold winter days,
the bird watchers do not stay indoor, but come out to areas like this one to watch many majestic bald eagles
in action catching fish.
On December 6, 2007, we drove 2 hours from Mid New Jersey to come to this area of Susquehanna River in
northern Maryland to enjoy watching many bald eagles in action.
Some bald eagles are perching on the trees near the Susquehanna River
Six bald eagles are perching in the mid-section of a large steel tower of high-voltage electric power line in the
middle of the Susquehanna River. Some more bald eagles are on the upper section of this tall and large steel
Some bald eagles stand on the rocks on the river side
This bald eagle just got a big fish from the Susquehanna River and flew here to land on the tree to prepare to
eat the big fish. This photo is taken by May Lee.
The bald eagle is working on the fish
Another bald eagle on another tree eating another fish
This bald eagle just got a fish from the Susquehanna River and was flying into the woods to eat the fish. This
action photo is taken by May Lee.
This bald eagle barely above the river surface just got a fish from the river.
December 6, 2007 was a cold day with air temperature hovering between 29 to 34 degrees Fahrenheit
around the freezing point. We had to put on our heavy winter coat and had heavy warm glove on our hands
to be able to stay outdoor for hours watching these fishing birds in action. With the heavy glove, my finger
lost its sensitive and close touch with the shutter button of the camera such that some of these action photos
were not very well focused. We just did our best to take these action photos in such freezing cold weather.
Another bald eagle in flight got a fish in its talons.
Two of many herons in flight over the Susquehanna River. In addition to bald eagle, there are several
other kinds of fishing birds in this area catching fish.
Many seagulls far away and seen as many tiny white dots on the rocks in this busy fishing area.
After coming down through the large hydroelectric turbines in the Conowingo Dam, the water rush out from
under the dam creating powerful turbulent water near the base of dam. Many fish coming through the
hydroelectric turbines and the powerful turbulent water are stunned by such powerful turbulence. The powerful
turbulence flushes the stunned or injured fish to the surface such that those fish become easy targets for these
fishing birds to catch. This is one of the reasons that so many fishing birds (> 20,000) congregate at this area
to feast on the abundance of fish. The second reason is that the powerful turbulent water from the dam
prevents the water from freezing up in the winter so that many fish remain accessible by these fishing birds in
the winter in this area.
Note: The release of water from Conowingo Dam is intermittent, not continuous all the time. When the water is
not flowing out from the dam, many fishing birds are standing on the rocks, or perching on the trees or on the
steel tower waiting for action. The dam will sound the alarm siren and have red lights flashing twice before it
starts to release the powerful and turbulent water. When this happens, more than 20,000 fishing birds take to
the air for action to catch fish. Therefore, it is worthwhile to stay in this area long enough to see such fantastic
action event with huge number of fishing birds in the air as shown on the first picture above.
One eagle perching on the tree above the parking lot.
A bald eagle was forced to fly away from the tree when a second eagle tried to land on the same spot on the
tree. This second eagle looks like an immature bald eagle or a golden eagle without white feather on the head
or the tail.
So, in the Christmas Holiday Season, many bald eagles and millions of snow geese from arctic area come with
Santa Claus to our area in US eastern seaboard. Many bird watchers are happily going outdoor, even though
the weather is cold, to watch these large number of visiting and interesting birds from the north.
We went to Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) in Delaware on December 4, 2006 to watch huge
number of snow geese, to Bosque del Apache NWR in New Mexico in February 2006 to watch huge number of
sandhill cranes and snow geese, to Salton Sea NWR in southeast California in November 2006 to watch many
pelicans, snow geese and other birds, and to Barnegat Inlet in New Jersey in February 2007 to see many
The Bombay Hook NWR in Delaware is only about one hour driving distance from the Susquehanna River in
Maryland. It is possible to watch the bald eagles in action at Susquehanna River, then go to see huge number
of snow geese in Bombay Hook NWR in a one-day trip in the winter season.
This parking lot is about 45 miles north-east of Baltimore and about 5 miles south of the Pennsylvania border.
The directions to this paved observation parking lot are:
1. Set the destination of GPS navigator at the junction of US 1 & Route 222 (Susquehana River Road),
Oakwood, MD 021918
2. From this junction, turn south-west into US 1 to go south-west over Susquehanna River
3. Shortly after crossing over Susquehanna River, turn left (south) into Shuresville Road
4. Go south on Shuresville Road for about 0.5 miles
5. Make a sharp left (east) turn into Shures Landing Road which is a small, steep and winding road to go down
to the paved parking lot on the river bank. (Note: there are several houses as landmarks at the junction of
Shuresville Road and Shures Landing Road for making the turn).
Map: Click here to see Google Map showing location of this eagle watching area
Note 1: The best period to see bald eagle at this location is from Thanksgiving Day to Christmas Day (i.e.,
essentially the month of December) when the number of bald eagles, including migratory bald eagles, here is
at its peak.
Note 2: Susquehanna River is a large and wide river somewhat similar to the Hudson River. The width of the
river is about one mile in this area. One needs a good binocular to see well and a powerful optical zoom in the
camera to take good photos of the bald eagles in action over such a wide river. My previous camera has 12X
optical zoom and my new camera has 20X optical zoom, and are known as super-zoom compact digital
Another eagle in flight over Susquehanna River
Three bald eagles fishing over the river.
A bald eagle flying under the trees.
A bald eagle in flight over Susquehanna River.
A bald eagle in flight over Susquehanna River, two more are further away on upper left corner of this photo.
This bald eagle was settling down on the tree near the parking lot.
We visited this area again on December 6, 2008 and saw huge number of seagulls on the riverbed during
quiet period before the dam released water. They appear as many tiny white dots due to the large distance.
Zoom in for a closer view of the large number of seagulls on the riverbed during quiet period
It was a very cloudy day on December 6, 2008 and was getting dark by about 4:30 PM. This is one of many
bald eagles flying to the trees on the riverbank near the parking lot to perch on suitable branch of the tree for
the overnight stay.
I also took a movie clip of the large number of seagulls and some bald eagles on the riverbed. It seemed that
when one or more bald eagles flew by, many seagulls took to the air for safety. I uploaded this movie clip to
YouTube at the following website:
The sound near the end of this movie clip is the sound of several bald eagles perching on the trees near the
parking lot behind me.
This is one of 10 or more bald eagles perching on the trees near the parking lot when it started to snow with
low light and we were ready to leave after 4:30 PM.
An excellent video of many bald eagles in action in November on the Susquehanna River near the Conowingo
Dam can seen at the following website:
Locations and Directions:
There is a paved parking lot for bald eagle watching, at the end of Shures Landing Road, along the
south-west side of the river bank of Susquehanna River for watching bald eagles in action over the
Susquehanna River. This paved observation parking lot is near the Conowingo Village in Darlington, Maryland
where US 1 crosses over the Susquehanna River. There are ample parking space, picnic tables, benches and
public toilet facilities here for bird watchers and anglers as shown in the following picture:
Another bald eagle in flight over Susquehanna River
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