Time was, not so long ago, that the rare chance of spotting a bald eagle here in the Hudson Valley was reason enough to get people outdoors on a winter’s day. With once-endangered bald eagles now reestablished by the hundreds in our flyway, though, a lot of people have scoped out their own favorite year-round viewing locations. So the people at the Ossining-based nature center called the Teatown Lake Reservation have had to come up with some extra incentives to spur turnout at their annual EagleFest, returning for the 14th year on Saturday, February 10. How about a performance from singer/songwriter Dar Williams?
Williams will be appearing at this year’s EagleFest, at the center of the action: Croton Point Park. That site will also feature live raptor shows in heated tents, and serve as the point of embarkation for bus tours to a circuit of reliable winter eagle-viewing sites: the Croton Boat Ramp, George’s Island, New Croton Dam, Steamboat Dock and Riverfront Green. Trained spotters with scopes will be encamped at each location. If you want to start your day early, catch the Metro-North Eagle Train leaving Poughkeepsie at 8:50 a.m. and ride to Croton-Harmon in the same car with a naturalist, who’ll be pointing out winter bird life along the Hudson River. Shuttle buses will provide free service between the Croton-Harmon station and the park.
Admission to EagleFest at Croton Point costs $17 for adults, $10 for children aged 6 to 11 in advance, $22 for adults and $12 for kids on the day of the event. Children aged 5 and under get in free. Bus tours cost an extra $26 per ticket for those aged 14 and up. If money is an issue, you can try your luck at spotting eagles from the Belvedere at Boscobel, located at 1601 Route 9D in Garrison, one of EagleFest’s official viewing sites. From 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on February 10, a naturalist from Constitution Marsh Audubon Center and Sanctuary will be on-site at Boscobel with binoculars and a scope to help visitors spot bald eagles as they feed on fish and waterfowl in the Hudson River’s unfrozen waters. (Even if the majestic birds are in hiding that day, it’s still one of the most stunning viewpoints in the entire Valley.) Admission to the Boscobel site that day is free, and preregistration is not required.
EagleFest at Croton Point Park will also feature kids’ activities, food trucks, information about regional wildlife and conservation organizations and plenty of other attractions. To find out more, visit www.teatown.org/events/eaglefest.