A note on safety
On Saturdays and Sundays, Loch Raven Drive is closed to traffic and you can walk with your focus being on the sky and trees.
I recommend some caution during the week as the occasional car does come down that road at high speed. Plus, I’ve seen drivers that are scanning the trees for eagles and not watching what is in front of them. Just keep that in mind since segments of this road don’t have much of a shoulder to retreat to.
While this road doesn’t have a lot of traffic, and most of the drivers do appear to be local and accustomed to pedestrians, all it takes is one distracted driver to ruin your day.
Just be alert for cars during the week, sermon over.
While there are usually a few bald eagles at Loch Raven Reservoir year round, the current high numbers are attributed to their yearly migration.
Map 1 was created on February 6, 2015 and will only be relevant for a couple of weeks. I’ll modify it as needed according to weather conditions and the expected migration in March that will reduce the number of eagles in this area.
UPDATE: February 8, 2015 -The high numbers of bald eagles we had last week appears to have dwindled. My guess is that we had a few extra eagles in transit last week, or just temporary visitors from the Conowingo Dam.
When walking from the Providence Road parking location to the bridge, go slow and keep your eyes on the trees. If you don’t, you’ll likely walk past an eagle in a tree, or spook them into flying away.
Sometimes they fly off as you approach, while other times they just sit there, indifferent to your presence.
1 – The bridge offers the best unobstructed view when the eagles are flying, and if there is ice around the bridge, the eagles come in close looking for dead fish. Of course lingering on the bridge isn’t recommended Monday thru Friday.
2- On the east side of the bridge is a grassy area that offers a decent view, when you approach look in the trees because there is a good chance of an eagle being up there.
3- On the west side of the bridge there is a rocky ridge that provides partially obstructed views. Despite having to climb up there and tree limbs blocking part of your view, it is worth going to. You get the best view of Goose Island, and I’ve seen eight eagles at once in the trees there on February 4, 2015. The climb is not difficult as long as you are in reasonable health.
General Viewing Tips
If you happen to see a bald eagle perched in a tree, or on the ice; try to find a comfortable spot and wait. I’m guessing it will be no more than an hour before the eagle takes to the sky.
Slightly before and during flight activity, bald eagles make a number of chirping calls to one another. The bald eagle chirp sounds birdy, but mixed with the tone of screeching metal and the sound a dog makes when you step on their paw.
I know that sounds like a humorous description, so head on over to the Audubon website and have a listen before you go out. Being familiar with their calls will help alert you to their flight activity.
Map 2 is an embedded Google map only intended to show the walking route from the closest parking areas on Saturday and Sunday. During the week there is plenty of parking just east of the bridge on Loch Raven Drive.
The Providence Road location only has room for a dozen cars, if it is full then park at the dam.
Zoom out to get your bearings if you don’t recognize this area.