Best Areas to See Bald Eagles in Winter

Winter is one of the best seasons for viewing bald eagles in North America. Many of the best locations are found along both coasts, major rivers, and migratory bird flyways. The following list includes a few areas where bald eagles may be seen.

Atlantic Flyway:

Great Bay National Wildlife Refuge (New Hampshire)

At Great Bay National Wildlife Refuge, a two-mile trail leads to Great Bay where bald eagles, wild turkey, white-tailed deer, red fox, and other wildlife are sometimes present.

Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge (Eastern Shore of Maryland)

Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge has one of the highest concentrations of bald eagles on the East Coast. More than 200 bald eagles winter on the refuge. Held in March, the lackwater National Wildlife Refuge Eagle Festival features kids’ activities, guest speakers, exhibits, and bus tours to see active eagle nests.

Elizabeth Hartwell Mason Neck National Wildlife Refuge (Washington, DC)

The first refuge established for the protection of bald eagles, Mason Neck National Wildlife Refuge is a leading place to try to spot them. The refuge lies along a section of the Potomac River that is a breeding and resting area for bald eagles. The Great Marsh Trail offers a good overlook from November through March, when eagles are building nests and laying eggs.

Mississippi River:

Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge (near Clinton, Iowa)

At Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge, bald eagles sometimes number in the hundreds as they hunt the open water below the river’s locks and dams. The refuge surrounds the lock and provides excellent viewing opportunities. Bald eagle numbers peak from January through March. The refuge holds the Clinton Bald Eagle Watch in January.

Pacific Coast:

Lower Klamath and Tule Lake Wildlife Refuges

Large numbers of bald eagles visit Lower Klamath and Tule Lake refuges in winter. Bald eagles are highlighted at the Klamath Basin Refuges Winter Wings Festival, held  in February.

Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge (Olympia, Washington)

Bald eagles feed on waterfowl and fish where the Nisqually River meets Puget Sound. Washington is one of the largest eagle nesting sites in the country.

Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge (Portland, Oregon)

In winter, resident and migrating bald eagles feed on waterfowl and fish along the Columbia River. Eagle populations can vary, depending on the Columbia salmon runs.

source: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Related Information

Where To See and Photograph Bald Eagles

Nautical Acronym Stickers

In recent years, oval acronym stickers have gained popularity in North America. The concept originated in Europe, where two letter stickers are used to identify the home country of vehicles. Eventually, the stickers began turning up as overseas vehicles returned home to the USA, Canada, and other countries.

Although original euro style oval stickers displayed a two letter code on a plain white background, American designers were quick to develop a wide range of variations. Oval stickers that feature black letters on a white background remain popular. Some designs include a black border, along with the location name in small font.

One of the first euro style oval stickers to gain popularity in the USA featured the acronym “OBX” (Outer Banks North Carolina).

2014-2015 Federal Duck Stamp Released

A pair of Canvasbacks painted by wildlife artist Adam Grimm of Burbank, S.D. are featured on the 2014-2015 Federal Duck Stamp. The 81st Federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp, as it is formally known, was released in June.

The stamps are available for purchase online, at many sporting goods and retail stores, and at some post offices and national wildlife refuges.  Visit www.fws.gov/duckstamps/stamps.htm for more information.

Waterfowl hunters age 16 and older are required to purchase and carry a current Federal Duck Stamp. Conservationists, birders, stamp collectors, art lovers and many others also buy the stamp as an investment in wetlands conservation for future generations.

Ninety-eight percent of the proceeds from the $15 duck stamp go to the Migratory Bird Conservation Fund, which supports wetland acquisition for the National Wildlife Refuge System.

Since 1934, Federal Duck Stamp sales have raised more than $850 million to acquire and protect more than 6 million acres of wetlands habitat on hundreds of national wildlife refuges spread across all 50 states and U.S. territories.

A current Federal Duck Stamp is also good for free admission to any refuge that charges an entry fee.

Last fall, a panel of judges chose Grimm’s art to grace the stamp from among 202 paintings at the Federal Duck Stamp Art Contest. The next Federal Duck Stamp Art Contest will be held Sept. 19 and 20, 2014 in Shepherdstown, WV.

For more information, visit www.fws.gov/duckstamps.

source: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

California Pacific Whale Trail Sites

On April 18, NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries and The Whale Trail announced new coastal sites in California where the public can view orcas and other marine mammals from shore.

Initial viewing sites near San Francisco, Santa Cruz, and Monterey will be established and outfitted with interpretative signs describing the types of whales and other wildlife that can be seen at each location as well as information about the area’s distinguishing characteristics.

The first California stops along the Whale Trail are in publicly-accessible locations adjacent to Gulf of the Farallones and Monterey Bay national marine sanctuaries which are internationally recognized for wildlife watching, especially whales.

The California viewing sites will be added to the Whale Trail website. The inaugural viewing sites include Point Reyes, Lighthouse Point in Santa Cruz, and Point Lobos State Reserve in Monterey County.

Additionally, the Crissy Field visitor center for Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary, Aquarium of the Bay in San Francisco, Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary’s (MBNMS) Exploration Center in Santa Cruz, and MBNMS Coastal Discover Center in San Simeon will also be added to the Whale Trail website as venues where the public can learn about whales and other marine mammals.

Whale Trail is a non-profit organization that works with NOAA and other organizations to raise awareness of marine waters.

source: National Ocean Service

Best Mid Atlantic Beaches

The Mid Atlantic region is frequently recognized for its pristine beaches.

The following areas were included in the 2013 list of Blue Beaches. Compiled by the Clean Beaches Coalition, the annual Blue Beaches list identifies clean, healthy, and environmentally well managed beaches.

New York

Sunken Forest Beach, Fire Island National Seashore
Watch Hill Beach, Fire Island National Seashore

New Jersey

North Beach, Sandy Hook National Seashore
N. Gunnison Beach, Sandy Hook National Seashore

Maryland

North Ocean Beach, Assateague Island National Seashore

Virginia

Sandbridge Beach, Virginia Beach
Tom’s Cove Beach, Assateague Island National Seashore

North Carolina

North Core Banks, Cape Lookout National Seashore
South Core Banks, Cape Lookout National Seashore
Shackleford Banks, Cape Lookout National Seashore

Blue Wave, an environmental certification program for U.S. beaches, is recognized as a reliable benchmark for well-maintained beaches and eco-friendly tourism.

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