It was a cold but gorgeous day for Teatown’s annual EagleFest on Saturday! I spent the morning by the entrance to the main tent at Croton Point Park, greeting people and sharing information about activities, the schedule, the raffle, and the bathrooms. I would have loved to have seen one of the live raptor shows, but maybe next time. In the afternoon I was stationed further up the river in Verplanck, at one of the eagle viewing spots. When I arrived there was lots of drama–the spotting scope had somehow fallen in the river. It was pretty windy… They were able to fish it out with some poles, but some water had gotten into the lens. Luckily most of our visitors brought their own cameras with good zoom lenses or nice binoculars, and we had a couple binoculars to share. We mostly saw eagles fairly far away, soaring above the treeline of the peninsula above. Some were spotted on the ice, as well.
With my camera, I wasn’t able to get any close-ups, but a juvenile did me a favor and came closer… For their first few years, bald eagles are mostly brown with splotchy white eventually settling into the familiar pattern.
At the end of the day, around 4pm, we suddenly saw 29 eagles rise up in a kettle from the treeline. A kettle is usually used to describe the circling group flight of migrating hawks, and the spotter on site, a birder of many years, said he had never seen anything like it from bald eagles.
For future reference, a group of eagles is called a convocation, or an aerie, if you enjoy those whimsical terms for groups of animals.
And even though they’re not as majestic as eagles and not even technically raptors, I was happy to see some vultures too!