The bald eagles entertain spectators from all over the world at Conowingo Dam’s Fisherman’s Wharf & Park. Visitors easily see Bald Eagles, up to 100 of them, from the viewing platforms and paved walkway of the park. The wildlife park is run and maintained by Exelon Corporation, the owner of the hydroelectric plant.
Here you can see our national symbol everywhere from November to February, but bird watchers see hundreds of species of birds throughout the year.
Of course, the Bald Eagles are the stars of the show, even though I was told warblers bring in many bird watchers, (some birdwatchers seen in the gallery below).
Picnic tables line the riverbank making this place a perfect place to bring a family for the day. The kids joined seasoned photographers along the river bank all vying for a prime viewing location. The rapid fire of camera shutters sounded a little like tiny machine guns shooting down small fighter planes, I heard one kid say.
The park was built in 2009 for birders and fishermen, and the best part of watching the eagles is when THEY fight over a fish. They are just wonderful to photograph when feeding. While shots of the hundreds of gulls (above gallery) aren’t likely to amaze the masses, they are still nice to see against a perfect blue sky such as we had when I was there.
I think if I had advice to offer, it would be spend more than an hour here. There usually is a long wait between the action and it is well worth your time. The other photographers announce when a bird is coming in and everyone raises their lenses in unison to follow the action. Once a bird catches a fish, eagles descend from the trees and towers in chase (above).
I found this place not particularly easy to find since my GPS is not updated. The address is 2569 Shures Landing Road, Darlington, MD 21034, but there are very few signs. Here is a link to a pdf of all the information you will need about where and when to visit. Conowingo Dam’s Fisherman’s Park.
Since I come from the north in Pennsylvania, I can tell you to take Route 222 S (Rock Spring Road) to Route 1 South into Maryland. Route 1 becomes Conowingo Road. Go across the river and over the dam bridge to Shuresville Road where you make a hard left up the hill. Take the very windy road for 0.7 miles to Shure’s Landing and make a very sharp left. Follow it through the inspection gate and make a left to the parking area. Park in the middle of the parking section so you are located at the best viewing spot in front of the two large towers. Keeping an eye on the eagles perched on the towers lets you anticipate their fishing runs. You will move towards the dam later as the sun sets behind the trees, so having your vehicle centrally located is a good idea. Bring a lunch too.
Next post, I will talk about what I learned from other photographers (with the big guns) on photographing the eagles.
On GWGT, How to Tell Young Eagles From Adults.