Today was day 3 at the Conowingo Dam. Once again we left the hotel at 5:30 so we could arrive and set up by 6. As we arrived and were driving down the hill to the dam we noticed the sirens were already going off which meant they were opening the larger turbines. Generally speaking that would encourage the eagles to fish, but since it was still dark, they held off until the light started to shine. By that time it was almost 7 and not only did we notice the eagles in the trees behind us, but we also noticed that the parking lot was full.
The morning starting off strong with some good fishing and chases, but the light was bad. I was hopeful for a good day because the action started so strong so early and there wasn't a cloud in the sky. However, as the morning progressed, the wind picked up. Although the sun was shining so nicely, the wind made the temperatures feel more bitter. Even though the temperature rose as the morning progressed, it actually got colder as the wind picked up. Although sunny in the 40's, the wind was roughly 7-12 mph with gusts up to 20 mph and that made things feel more bitter.
We hung tight and endured the lack of eagle activity for a few hours. Then later in the afternoon when the winds died down, the eagles began to move. We got to enjoy watching them fish and then watch those who were hungry chase after an eagle with a fish fish. We saw many chases, but there were two that really stuck with me. The first memorable one happened right in front of us. There were two eagles chasing after the one who had caught the fish. It was amazing to see all three eagles fill the frame of my photos as they flew near me and then away. In fact, my blog photo is one where they got close enough so I could get one of them chasing the other. This shot is not at all cropped.
There were many chases between that chase and the second memorial chase. The second memorial chase was a little distant, but probably the most entertaining chase I've ever watched. It started when this adult bald eagle came into view and dove down to catch a fish. Once it caught the fish other eagles began to chase it and caused it to drop its catch. The adult then flew off and a juvenile bald eagle swooped down to catch the same fish. That juvenile then proceeded to the rocks along the island to eat and other bald eagles started to dive bomb him/her. Eventually an adult bald eagle won and stole the fish (I'm thinking the same adult who originally snatched it out of the water). There wound up being one heck of a fight on the rocks while several other adult and juvenile bald eagle tried to come in and steel it over the course of 10-15 minutes. Eventually, the adult who ultimately claimed it won and got to enjoy it.
Although we froze through most of the day, the action in the mid-late afternoon made up for it and we all walked away happy little campers with plenty of photos to go through.
Once again, our time at the Conowingo Dam was very well spent!