In Hartford County, Maryland, on November 14, 2015
We’re shivering in sleet and rain as we stand below a decrepit dam in a desolate area, peering over a chest-high chain link fence; twenty-five feet from us, sharing that fence, sit six Black Vultures, which apparently are trying to set the Guinness Book record for group defecation. Otherwise, it's a fine day.
The Bald Eagles are feeding! They swoop in and out of the dank shadows like avenging harpies, slowly beating their massive wings in the heavy air. It’s a dream scene: slow motion beauty and grace within a nightmarish landscape.
We’re watching from the downriver side of the Conowingo Hydroelectric Dam, which spans the Susquehanna River near the Maryland-Pennsylvania border. Scores of migrating Bald Eagles lay over here in November and December because the pickings are easy. The turbines in the dam periodically draw down water from the upriver side, then spout it out downriver -- full of dizzy and dead fish over which the eagles fight.
The Bald Eagles are the stars here, dominating Great Blue Herons, Sea Gulls, and a large colony of Black Vultures. There’s not much else worth seeing. Massive electricity towers and their sagging power lines are above us, the water below is gray and full of slag rock, and the 1928 dam is mostly a wall of cement sluices with a mechanical and administrative area that is topped with rusting electrical equipment. Nonetheless, it’s Eagle Eden.
You can see a few more images of these birds by clicking the link below. We recommend that your initial screening of the images be a full-frame slideshow. (To make that happen, click on the SLIDESHOW button above the featured [largest] image on the gallery page to which the link will take you.) Here's the link:
Barbara and Dick