[Immature Bald Eagle at last year's eagle festival. Photo by Don Freiday.]
Cumberland County is the epicenter for Bald Eagles in New Jersey - where else do you routinely encounter groups of 5 or more eagles at a time? A great opportunity to experience eagles and other raptors is coming this Saturday, February 7th, 2009, the date for the Ninth Annual Cumberland County Winter Eagle Festival centered at the Mauricetown Fire Hall on Noble Street in Mauricetown, NJ. Registration starts at 8 a.m. and admission is $10 for adults and $5 for children under twelve.
CMBO naturalists with scopes and lots of eagle knowledge will be stationed at Turkey Point, Maple Avenue Causeway, Beaver Dam, and Newport Landing. Active Bald Eagle nests are present at the latter three sites, and I wouldn't be a bit surprised if Rough-legged hawks or a Golden Eagle turn up during the day.
There is a lineup of speakers for the event. Here's the schedule:
10 a.m. Kathy Clark - Bald Eagles - Soaring in New Jersey
11 p.m. Jane Galetto - Seasons of the Maurice
1 p.m. Pete Dunne - The Art of Pishing
2 p.m. Margaret O'Gorman - New Jersey's Rare Wildlife
3 p.m. Don Freiday - Owls and How to Find Them
Karen Johnson is leading a sunrise walk at Turkey Point and I and others will lead an owl vigil beginning at 5:00 p.m. We traditionally see Great-horned Owls coming out to feed at dusk, and I hear a Short-eared Owl has appeared at Turkey Point after a winter when they have thus far been absent there. Steve Eisenhauer and Brian Johnson are offering two eagle walks throughout the day. At the Fire Hall a variety of vendors will be on hand with art, birding and general natural history material, and other articles and opportunities related to the appreciation of the beautiful natural areas in our region. Food will be available throughout the day courtesy of the Mauricetown Volunteer Fire Department. Their crabcake and fried oyster sandwiches are delicious!
For more information about the festival, check out the Cumberland County website, or call 856-453-2177 or 866 866-M-O-R-E
[Owl watchers under the moon at last year's festival. Photo by Don Freiday.]