Bald Eagle Fledglings at their Nest on a Cell Phone Tower

Pennsauken, NJ, July 9, 2023
 
 

The snapshot above was taken on July 9, 2023, at 5:31 pm EDT from the football field parking lot on Collins Lane in Maple Shade, NJ. The view looks roughly 1,400 ft southwest to a cell phone tower on the grounds of the Pennsauken Country Club, along the South Branch of the Pennsauken Creek. Atop the tower is a Bald Eagle nest, #188 on the list kept by the New Jersey Bald Eagle Project (scroll down to pg 8). Here's the Project Home Page. This is an afocal shot with a handheld iPhone 11 through the eyepiece of a Kowa 88 mm apo spotting scope with the zoom eyepiece set to 40x. The horizontal arrows on the left point to the fledglings, the slanted arrow at the top points to the massive stick nest. Exposed 1/122 sec at f/1.8, ISO 50. Two fledgling birds are indicated with arrows on the left side; the arrow at the top points to the nest of sticks.

I first spotted an adult Bald Eagle on top of this tower in September 2019 incidentally while looking for Mercury just after sunset with the 88 mm spotter from a nearby baseball field. I've been watching it casually since then, spotting an occasional eagle. In the spring of 2023, I spotted a pair of adult eagles simultaneously and have been paying closer attention since then, ultimately spotting the heads of a couple chicks protruding from the nest being fed by an adult in the middle of May See photo below). In the past week, a pair of full-sized youngsters have been seen hopping around the top of the tower, still mostly brownish in color as shown in the photo (adult plumage takes four or five years to develop) and still a little awkward as they stretch their wings. In the past week, including July 9, I saw one of the youngsters take a short flight off the tower and back, but I can't tell if it was the same bird on each occasion.

  

  

This is a snapshot taken on May 10, 2023, showing a pair of adult Bald Eagles, one of which is feeding a chick in the nest atop the cell phone tower. Taken at 5:12 pm EDT with an iPhone 11 afocally through the 88 mm Kowa spotting scope. Exposed 1/767 sec at f/1.8, ISO 32.

 

 

This is the view from directly behind the spotting scope, which is pointed at the distant cell tower (vertical arrow) with the eagle nest. It was taken with a handheld iPhone 11 at 5:31 pm EDT, exposed 1/121 sec at f/1.8, ISO 64.

 

 

This is a clip of a Google Map, satellite view, of the cell tower with the eagle nest and my viewing spot about 1,400 ft away at the parking lot on Collins Lane in Maple Shade, NJ.