View Full Version : Conwingo dam

Ronald Rytter
10-08-2012, 10:18 AM
When would be a peak time to head to Conwingo Dam for the eagles?

Andre van As
10-08-2012, 11:07 AM
Hi Ron
Seems they congregate there in the winter because of the source of food from the dam.
Try this not very helpful link




Jerry amEnde
10-08-2012, 12:40 PM
I think late November is normally considered peak. I was there about 3 weeks ago and and there was some eagle activity, but not nearly like the times I've been there in November. Be aware that it can be quite crowded on the weekends.

Another tip is to schedule around the daily release times for the Dam. Floaters (i.e. dead fish) are released from the dam and the eagles battle for them. A recorded daily release schedule can be heard at (888)457-4076.

Conowingo Dam is a special treat. Good Luck!

PS: Keep checking your parked car as the Black Vultures have been known to destroy windshield wipers and rubber molding.

Bill Jobes
10-08-2012, 10:02 PM
Hi again, Ron,

The comments and advice from Andre and Jerry are excellent.

A few additional observations based on a lot of experience there:

1. Take the information from the telephone 'hotline' with a bag of salt. They purport to give, in a recording made at 5 p.m., the power generation schedule for the following day. Some times they stick to it; others they don't. The demands of the electric grid may demand changes in their announced schedule, and all bets are off. Of course, when they open some dam gates, fish go through and don't survive, and become the floaters that eagles, herons and cormorants grab. The more 'units' of power they generate, the better for photographers.

2. Want an eagle to swoop down in front of you and offer the photo of a lifetime? Take a lunch break, a porta-potty break, get involved in a real good conversation, or engage in some 'chimping.' :bg3: That brings the eagles every time.

3. Seriously, it pays to pay attention to the water, and not the (especially on weekends) mob scene distractions along the fence. Regulars know what I mean.

4. While the 'peak' can be late November to late December, eagles are there most every day. You may not see them, but they're present, often hidden in the trees on the hills in back of the parking lot. They can dive to the water right in front of you, with zero lead time. Thus the importance of watching the water as much as you can stand to do so.

5. Also, as noted above, be sure to change your camera settings as you go from river shots to flight shots. I've goofed on that one more times than I wish to recall.

6. Even on non-peak 'slow' days, you can get some good photos. Here's one I got last Monday, very late in a very dull day, devoid of action until then.

Have a great time when you go, Ron !

Andre van As
10-09-2012, 09:29 AM
Hi Jerry and Bill
I have been to Conowingo only once as I have been on the DL most of the past year. Which side of the river is the best aspect to photograph from - north (PA side) or south (DE side)? I suspect that the north would present more problems from the lighting POV? What is your experience?



Jerry amEnde
10-09-2012, 09:59 AM

Here's the only place I've been. Here there's plenty of parking, porta-potties and the light is from the right early in the day; behind in the afternoon.



Andre van As
10-09-2012, 10:06 AM
Thanks Jerry
This is the only side I have visited but when scoping out the other side it seems the black vultures hang out on the rocks on the river's edge. However the floaters that attract the birds will be closer on the side that you have illustrated.



Jerry amEnde
10-09-2012, 05:13 PM
After all this talk of Conowingo, I got the urge to take a drive down today (only 35 miles). The Internet weather claimed the overcast skies would change to partly cloudy as of 2:00pm. They lied! When I got there it was drizzling. I didn't even set up my tripod ('cuz I wanted to get the camera back to the car in a hurry). I only saw about four other photographers there. I was the only one near the fisherman's platform.

I turns out the eagle population was, indeed, greater than the last time I visited about three weeks ago. Attached is the best shot I got. I'm really not sure why I'm posting as the conditions were so poor that the image suffered severely - the background was nice in any case :S3:. I'm sure the numbers will continue to increase until peak in late November, early December.


Jerry amEnde
11-18-2012, 05:59 AM
I don't know whether the eagle population is near peak at Conowingo Dam, but the photographer population is approaching peak (I understand Thanksgiving week is peak). This shot is from yesterday. Commonly called the "Million Dollar Fence".