Groundhog’s Day at a Bald Eagle Festival

Sunrise from the Walt Whitman Bridge, heading into N.J., just to prove I’ve seen my first sunrise in roughly two years 🙂

Just got back from the Winter Eagle Festival in Cumberland County, N.J. The event took place at the Natural Lands Reserve northwest of Mauriceville, inland from the Delaware Bay. Beautiful marshland stretching far as the eye can see contained trails out to various viewing areas where migrating bald eagles are calling home for the winter.

Our trek started with an early breakfast in the Great Northeast and leaving Philadelphia over the Walt Whitman Bridge into New Jersey at sunrise. One of my New Year’s resolutions was to get up earlier than I’ve been doing to see more sunrises. Today’s was the first one for the new year, but at least that’s a start.

Took about an hour for getting to the Mauricetown Fire Department. There various birding and environmental organizations, local businesses and the natural-resource partnerships involved with the upkeep and protection of the marshlands throughout the Delaware River Watershed had tables set up with literature and trinkets.

Spoke with the nice folks from Natural Lands about the area and the wonderful work they do to preserve vast amounts of pristine marshlands, and a boater who charters cruises out on the inlet waterways from the Delaware Bay.

Mainly we wanted to pay the fee for the activities on tap and find the Eagle Walks, two of which were held at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. An owl watch occurred in the evening as the sun went down at Turkey Point.

In recent posts, I mentioned Fitbit and my usage of the smart watch to keep record of how many steps have accumulated in one adventure. The CDC says 7,000 per day is the recommended amount for ultimate exercise. My average hikes are usually 4,000 steps, which is around 2 miles/3.2 kilometers.

That’s what I’m used to. It’s not the max, but good enough for this old-timer. My feet get sore with anything more. Today’s hiking around, including my hobbling up two flights of stairs when returning to my flat, totaled 9,236 step, or 4.3 miles/6.9 kilometers. Burned 529 calories which should take care of the TastyKakes I ate.

My poor dogs feel like they are going to fall off, but I’m impressed about not dying before the day was through. It was a lot of walking yet very enjoyable, and something different for sure.

Many eagles were perched about. The event guides from Natural Lands were extremely knowledgeable and presented wonderfully instructive tidbits regarding the history of the wildlife preserve and identification of the species pointed out, providing powerful scopes zeroed in on various raptors located.

The temperatures were still frigid at 5:30 this morning: 7°F/-13.9 C when I cleared the snow off the Cooper to meet my buddy at the diner before we headed south. By the time the first eagle walk took place, it was 22°F/-5.6°C, and may have reached freezing by mid-afternoon.

We saw a few harriers but no owls on the owl watch, unfortunately. The eagle sightings were way out in the distance, at least a couple of miles away, which didn’t provide the views I was hoping to see.

Up in my neck of the woods along the Delaware River: Bucks/Philadelphia counties in PA, the eagles are a lot closer for our enjoyment and mostly all-year rounders. We are able to get up close and personal without violating or invading their personal space. We’re spoiled!

Same with the red-tailed hawks, harriers and owls, although not many of the latter are spotted around our portion of the Delaware River Watershed.

Here are some shots taken today of the bald eagles I spotted through the 600 mm lens, which isn’t as powerful as a fine spotting scope, like the birding enthusiasts have; but the photos give an idea as to how far away the wildlife was:

Crazy weather we’re having in the Philadelphia area with sub-zero temps from the wind chill earlier this week. Tuesday is supposed to be 61°F/16°C—T-shirt weather. Perhaps pneumonia weather is more like it.

Punxsutawney Phil didn’t see his shadow today, by the way, much good news for this lover of lore, looking forward to an early spring, baseball, and Balantine Beer.

Lastly, it was a beautiful sunset this evening to end a very splendid day.

Sunset Over Fortescue, N.J. at the Delaware Bay in Cumberland County

Thanks for stopping by and for your continued support.

Beatles
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About Mike Slickster

As an early retiree with an honorary doctorate degree from the proverbial "School of Hard Knocks," this upcoming author with a lot of free time on his hands utilizes his expansive repertoire for humorous yet tragic, wildly creative writing that contains years of imaginative fantasy, pure nonsense, classic slapstick, extreme happiness and searing heartbreak; gathered by a wealth of personal experiences throughout his thrilling—sometimes mundane or unusually horrid—free-spirited, rock-'n'-roller-coaster ride around our beloved Planet Earth. Mike Slickster's illustrious quest continues, living now in Act Three of his present incarnation, quite a bit on the cutting edge of profundity and philosophical merriment as seen through his colorful characters, most notably evident in the amusing Thirty Days Across the Big Pond series, all of which can be found at Lulu.com.
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