The temperature at the start was 26 degrees and at the finish 34 degrees. It was a cold, partly sunny day that began with watching feeder birds, including hairy and downy woodpeckers, dark-eyed junco, blue jays, and pileated woodpeckers among others. Four participants, wearing face coverings and social distancing, logged 168 miles in the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area and Upper Delaware Scenic River, from the Pocono Environmental Education Center (PEEC) to the Bushkill access, and the trip’s conclusion at the headwaters of the Lackawaxen River.
The search included seeing 30 species of birds, including 11 bald eagles, 4 red-tailed hawks, 1 Cooper’s hawk, and 7 common ravens.
Our first bald eagle was an adult perched west of Route 209 a mile south from the Eshback access. No eagles at the Dingmans Ferry access; however, as we left Route 739 and traveled north on Route 209, we spotted two adult bald eagle high on the ridge north of the Dingmans Cemetery. At mile marker 16 we stopped to check out the bald eagle nest near the river. We turned and scoped the ridge and discovered two adult bald eagles perched in a white pine high above. I have been seeing bald eagles this week at the mile marker 17 nest, and two adults were present today, one perched on the rim of the nest and the other high above on the ridge. No eagles were present at Milford Beach.
We checked the bald eagle nest near the Pierce House. No bald eagle present.
North of Cummings Road, two common ravens were soaring above the ridge. This location is near where in past there was an active bald eagle nest opposite the Kittatinny Campground above the westbound lane along Interstate 80. The nest is no longer there; however, bald eagles frequent the area.
We enjoyed a rest stop at the Turkey Hill in Matamoras, where a Cooper’s hawk flew in front of us, crossed the highway, and landed in an oak tree. We were able to find the hawk in our spotting scopes and were delighted to confirm it was a juvenile based on its yellow iris.
We continued past the Best Western; no eagles. However, a red-tailed hawk was perched aside the westbound lane of I-84. At the River View Restaurant near where Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York converge, no bald eagles. However, we spotted a red-tailed hawk on the Jersey side of the river.
The Laurel Grove Cemetery overlook above the Tristates Monument is where we saw two additional juvenile bald eagles in flight.
The Eddy Farm Resort overlook was quiet; no new species added.
By 11:30 a.m. we were at the Hawks Nest historical marker. Checked the whitewash on the cliff, great vista with a peregrine falcon soaring above the ridge.
At the Pond Eddy-Glen Spey turn we spotted a juvenile bald eagle soaring above. We continued to the Mongaup Falls observation blind. A flock of common mergansers was on the water, and as we departed, a juvenile bald eagle flew upstream over the blind. No bald eagles at the Rio Reservoir Dam. We returned to the Delaware and traveled upriver to the Lackawaxen headwaters, no additional eagles were sighted.
We concluded our field trip at 3:30 p.m.