Bald eagle nest hosts two babies; Photographers busy at Kiwanis Lake

Bil Bowden

flaired egrets

It's been a busy week or two for the area's most watched birds, with one eagle's nest failing, a red tailed hawk released after being shot with an arrow, great egrets building nests at York's Kiwanis Lake and another eagle's nest showing off its two new babies.

The Codorus State Park eagles nest hatched its first baby, but it didn't survive past a couple of days. The second egg didn't hatch. The park's camera is still operating, but "the eagle cam has provided a real glimpse into nature. And a reminder of the struggles that wildlife encounter in trying to survive. A shutdown date for the camera has not yet been determined," the website explains.

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On Wednesday, a hawk that had been flying throughout the area with an arrow sticking out of it was released following treatment, with no apparent ill effect. An army of media and a few dozen other nature lovers were on hand at Rocky Ridge County Park when volunteer Mark Kocher released the bird and  it took off into the woods. Good news is refreshing to see.

four photogs

This weekend, a few camera clubs or individual enthusiasts marched into Kiwanis Lake to make masterpieces of the brilliant white great egrets. Some egrets are on eggs, some are still building their dream nest. The black crowned night herons are working on their nests as well, but they have escaped the limelight since they are smaller, quicker, harder to see (they're gray and black) and therefore more difficult to photograph.

Understand that the Kiwanis Lake bird population is a big deal.  In one of those groups was a man who drove six hours from Willoughby, Ohio, to photograph the birds. One of the camera clubs was from Maryland, another from Virginia. From the York Audubon website--Kiwanis Lake Rookery is the only location in Pennsylvania with heron and egret species (yellow-crowned night heron, black crowned night heron and great egret).  

distant eagle nest

While the Codorus bald eagles continues to be televised on line for now, the eagles at the Harley Davidson property have hatched two babies, and are apparently doing well. The nest is still visible, and will be until the foliage hides the nest. That might be in the next two weeks.

With a healthy spotting scope, check out the nest from the water treatment side of the Codorus Creek, where birders can get a good angle on the nest. From the York County Heritage Rail Trail, the nest is much closer, but the severe upward angle often hides most of the activity.

Park at the San Carlos restaurant lot, and walk north between the treatment plant's fence and the creek. In the largest sycamore tree on the opposite shore is the nest. Be patient, and you'll see both parents. Check surrounding billboards and the treatment plant buildings, where they like to check out the creek's fish.