Turkey Vulture and Golden Eagle
at Tussey Mountain
March 6, 2005


The eagle (or hawk) watch site at Tussey Mountain is amazing. Today we had excellent views of various turkey vultures and golden eagles. Fortunately, "regulars" were there, and they pointed out hawks both near and far. And whether a raptor is near or far, one only has seconds to see the hawks, for they are either in the far distance (a pinpoint) or overhead and swiftly gone.

I had my best luck with turkey vultures, such as the one below.

Turkey vulture

The trail (part of the midstate Pennsylvania hiking trail) to the Tussey Mountain hawk watch site begins at Jo Hays Vista. After an easy two-thirds of a mile (or 15 to 20 minutes), the site has good views both north and south.

This was another turkey vulture.
Turkey vulture
I zoomed to a higher magnification for a view of the buzzard disappearing in the distance.

Turkey vulture

In addition to the raptors, a large flock of seagulls, which were being buffeted by the wind, flew overhead.

The stars of the day were the golden eagles. Six flew by in the four hours we were there. Four of them were in the far distance, but two came reasonably close (but much farther away than the vultures).
Golden eagle
I didn't compensate sufficiently for the change of light when it came to the golden eagles. (Call it excitement, as it was the first time Sue and I saw golden eagles flying.)

Update of 7 March:
Dan Ombalski (of the Tussey Mountain Hawkwatch) kindly pointed out the my original following photo was of a turkey vulture. Presently in place, hopefully, is a golden eagle.
Golden eagle
For detailed information on the eagle watch (including past and current information), as well as detailed directions for getting there, go to The Tussey Mountain Spring Hawkwatch.

Photo note: I used a Pentax *istD, with the SMC reflex 400-600mm lens at the 400mm end for the turkey vultures and 500mm for the golden eagles.  

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