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 the paved walkway of the park. The wildlife park is run and maintained by Exelon Corporation, the owner of the hydroelectric plant.
I am headed there soon with a friend. We are looking forward to a few days with loads and loads of eagles.
At Conowingo Dam, you can see many of our national symbols everywhere just over the Pennsylvania border into Darlington, Maryland, all months, but mostly from November to February. Bird watchers see hundreds of species of birds throughout the year though.
Of course, the Bald Eagles are the stars of the show, even though I was told warblers bring in many bird watchers come spring, (some birdwatchers seen in the gallery below). You might consider those photographers stars too with the long lenses. I visit the Dam often when I am home to Pennsylvania, it is a great way to spend a day. This will be my third trip this year.
Picnic tables line the riverbank in the nicer weather, making this place a perfect place to bring a family for the day. The kids join 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 dive for a fish. They are just wonderful to photograph when feeding.
I think if I had advice to offer, it would be spend more than an hour here. There usually is a 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. The older eagles usually win the fish.
Use GPS with the address 2569 Shures Landing Road, Darlington, MD 21034. 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. You can call them for the schedule when the turbines turn to send out stunned fish for all the eagles.
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 narrow 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.