Eagle Watch: The June 2009 Canoe-Kayak Paddle
at Bald Eagle State Park, Pennsylvania
June 21, 2009


The second paddle of the year at Bald Eagle State Park to visit the bald eagle family was scheduled for June 11; however, rain and the threat of thunderstorms caused the paddle to be rescheduled for June 19.

On Friday, June 19, the sky had the appearance of rain, and thunderstorms were predicted. But the day cleared, the thunderstorms receded, and the paddle went ahead. About fifteen of us (guided by ranger Nick Thomas of BESP and Ed of Tussey Mountain Outfitters) went across the lake.

The eaglets had begun to fly during the past week, and only one of the three was near the nest when we first paddled over in kayaks and canoes. Along the shore, a second eaglet was seen, and once seen, the eaglet relocated (and demonstrated that landing is a skill to be developed rather than automatically acquired).

Sue then spotted an adult bald eagle farther to the east, and we paddled in that direction. At the place we stopped to admire the eagle, Sue next saw that an eaglet was perched in the trees opposite us. Fine views and good photos!

At about the time we were ready to head back, Ed saw that the three eaglets had gathered nearby the nest tree, and we turned and went back to the nest. Two eaglets were in the nest tree itself, and they were making an incredible racket. I don't know whether it was in response to us, the paddlers, or whether they wanted dinner.

The adult bald eagle (let's call it Dad, in honor of Father's Day) flew into the nest tree. Whatever piercing calls the youngsters were making became many times louder. Then the third eaglet (first photo below) flew toward and then braked to land into the nest tree.

Incoming immature bald eagle

(The photos are not as clear as I'd prefer, because daylight was all but gone, but I like the sequence, which occurred within seconds.)

As the third eaglet has its talons out in front to land, Dad takes off and leaves the nest tree (no doubt muttering to himself, Enough is enough).

Adult bald eagle flying out, immature flying in

All three eaglets are in the nest tree, screeching away, while Dad makes his escape.
Adult bald eagle and eaglet

Here is a detail of the preceding photo. Somewhat dark, true, but a directly oncoming adult bald eagle is not a common sight (well, not for me).
Oncoming adult bald eagle

Here are some earlier photos of the day (when there was more sunlight to bring out color).


  • Nick Thomas has a varied and expanding program for just about everyone at Bald Eagle State Park, Pennsylvania
  • For learning about, renting, or buying a kayak: Tussey Mountain Outfitters
  • By eagle-watching spot at the end of the park road Hunter Run, you'll probably come across Ron Shaffer. He has beautiful photos of the eagles (as well as other wildlife), scopes set up so visitors can clearly see the nest, and a visitor log that everyone should sign.
Photo note: I used a Pentax K200D, with the SMC-A* 300mm lens, for the photos taken on June 19, 2009, at 8:11 p.m.  

The May 2009 eagle paddle or more eagle photos from June 19

A soaring one-year-old bald eagle

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