Guided Eagle Tour on the Carmans River
by Ron Scall
On April 16th Paul treated a group of about 15 paddlers to a beautiful day on the Carmans River in search of 2 pairs of majestic Bald Eagles. As an added bonus Paul enlisted Joy Cirigliano…
the Atlantic Flyway Projects Coordinator, for Four Harbors Audubon Society to be our guide in order to give us a greater understanding of the birds and their habitat.
We launched from the Carmans River Canoe & Kayak Company in Brookhaven and almost immediately after paddling beneath the LIRR tracks….
We were treated to the site of a Great Egret…
Right from the beginning Joy was calling out different species of birds faster than we were able to process the information…but the best was yet to come. As we continued along the river we saw numerous Osprey; a couple with fresh catches of fish gripped in their talons and then we saw a snapping turtle…
which prompted several comments of “is it alive?”; but not to worry as Joy assured us upon closer inspection that it was alive and well.
Shortly thereafter we saw the first eagle nest and Paul made the first siting of a soaring Bald Eagle.
No matter how many times I’ve been fortunate enough to see one of these magnificent birds they still manage to captivate me.
As the group paddled along toward the second eagle nest Joy let out cry of what can only be described as pure exhilaration when she exclaimed “it’s a Bittern!”. Not knowing what she was so excited about I paddled over to her and she told me this was only the sixth time she had ever seen a Bittern and I figured that in of itself must make this extra special so I decided to hang back with her to have a look at this bird. When I asked her to point it out to me she told me it was in the reeds, two clumps of mud to the left. I didn’t see a thing and the more I looked the more frustrated I became as I could not find this bird that she was going crazy over. About this time Troy joined us in his 12 foot solo canoe…
and asked me what all the commotion was about and I proceeded to tell him about this rare siting of a Bittern. He too questioned where it was and after a minute or two he spotted the elusive bird; however, I was still searching the reeds for it. Finally the Bittern began to move and I finally spotted it! Once I saw it I realized why it was such a rare find; it’s coloring perfectly camouflages it with the reeds.
As the Bittern slowly made its way to the edge of the river to catch a fish Joy, Troy and I were totally mesmerized by this incredible bird and simply sat in our boats in absolute amazement. I couldn’t take enough pictures of the Bittern and this one of what I can only describe as a prehistoric looking foot is probably the most interesting photo I shot on the trip.
After we got our fill of the Bittern for quite a while we proceeded up river to join the group again and were treated to more eagle sitings both in and out of their nest.
After we all had our fill of the wonderful birds of the Carmans River we headed back for a lunch stop apparently stretching the rules a bit lol.
For a finale some of us made our way to the falls before calling it a day.
Many thanks to Paul for arranging a great trip and special thanks to Joy for her insightful expertise.
6 responses to “Guided Eagle Tour on the Carmans River”
Oops! I don’t know what I was thinking. My apologies. Big thanks to Ron for a good article with great photos. I’ll try to pay better attention.
Hey Troy, you must’ve skipped right over the byline. This is Ron’s article & pics -lol.
& a great article & pics they are. I mean I got a coupla decent shots myself but glad the club didn’t have to rely on mine to document this outing.
Thanks for all the planning Paul. Really worked out great.
I learned my lesson. Bring a good binocular! Getting a good view of the wildlife makes all the difference. Seeing the eagles and the bitten, close-up, was spectacular! And I’m not even a birder.
Oh yeah, the company was great too! Special thanks to our leader Paul, photojournalist Alan, and our knowledgeable guest-interpreter Joy.
Sign me up for next time.
Great trip with some fun wind to boot! 🙂
Thanks for putting it together.
What a great yearly paddle for everyone to look forward to.
Hopefully I will be in town next year.
It is always a pleasure planning and leading this trip; our 3rd annual Eagle paddle. It was especially rewarding that for 2 new members this was their fist paddle with NACK. If you missed this trip keep the second weekend in April open for 2017.