A garden oasis and cultural center overlooking the Hudson River

From the Wave Hill Eagle Train

An expert birder and naturalist, Gabriel Willow leads walks and excursions all over the world, yet he has an easygoing and accessible way of encouraging new birders without overwhelming them with information. His walks are a regular feature of each season at Wave Hill.

On Saturday, February 7, naturalist Paul Keim and I led the annual Wave Hill Eagle Train excursion aboard Metro-North to join hundreds of other eagle-lovers in Croton for Eagle Fest.  En route, we spotted at least 20 bald eagles from the train.  As we sped by, they were loafing on the ice floes on the Hudson River. The recent frigid weather actually made for better eagle-watching, as the frozen streams and lakes upstate pushed eagles down the Hudson in search of open water—eagles feed primarily on fish, hence their preference for open water. The ice along the edge of the river makes a perfect perch for an eagle between fishing flights.

Once we got to the Croton Boat Launch, we spotted an additional five or six eagles, plus redhead, ruddy and black ducks, Canada geese, and even a coyote trotting on the ice. We then led a walk through the former landfill and forest in Croton Point Park, where we had some spactacular views of perched eagles.

It began to snow, but that just made the winter day even more beautiful.

I posted more photos on facebook, and I also recommend taking a look at the blog of amateur naturalist Matthew Will, Backyand and Beyond.  He led up a trip as well, and got some fine photos.

In the meantime, I hear a small flock of robins were sighted near Wave Hill House this past Monday, so I am looking forward eagerly to our next regular Sunday morning birding, on March 8.

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