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 2013 Fraser Valley Bald Eagle Festival
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By: karenbills (offline) on Wednesday, October 02 2013 @ 06:36 PM EDT (Read 7936 times)  
karenbills

Some of you already know that David Hancock and I are both directors of the Fraser Valley Bald Eagle Festival held each November on the third weekend. This year it will be Nov. 16 and 17. Many of our Hancock Wildlife Foundation (HWF) eagle cam viewers and members come from all over to view the world's largest gathering of wintering bald eagles. This year we are extending the viewing opportunity for a month and calling it the Season of the Eagles. However the festival itself is only the first of the four weekends, Nov.16 and 17.

David will be speaking both days as well as giving guided tours on the Fraser River Safari and HWF will have a booth in the exhibit hall at Laq'a:mel Hall on Lougheed Hwy. just east of Deroche, BC. So we hope to meet many new faces this year. Bring your binoculars and cameras of course!!

This year we are so pleased to have the opportunity to purchase public service announcements on the local media stations. We plan to blast these promos frequently between now and then to let the public know about this amazing event that is still such a well kept secret and we want to change that. These eagles are only 50 miles east of Vancouver but so few Vancouverites know about this gathering happening in their "backyard".

Here's the promo that will be running on our local stations:

http://youtu.be/shIi3aZsBqA


Here's the link to the Fraser Valley Bald Eagle website for more information. There you will also find the .pdf file that you can download and print of our 2013 program and schedule of events and a map, etc.

http://fraservalleybaldeaglefestival.ca/


Here's the link to the Fraser River Safari (FRS) where you can book one of David's guided tours to see the eagles up close in the heated and covered jet boat. You won't be cold or wet and the windows slide open for picture taking as we pull up under the trees that are loaded with eagles. Photographer or not, you will love it. This is definitely the best way to see the bald eagles. The tours with David sell out quickly but we also are on the boat certain days in the following weeks of the Season of the Eagles. So please go to the FRS website to check the availability and dates of tours with David.

http://fraserriversafari.com/eagle-watc ... d-hancock/


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By: Pat B (offline) on Thursday, October 03 2013 @ 06:12 AM EDT  
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By: davidh (offline) on Thursday, October 17 2013 @ 05:51 PM EDT  
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Hancock here: The attached notification of the upcoming Fraser Valley Bald Eagle Festival (FVBEF) is once again proud to present a "volunteer training program" offered by the Fraser Valley Bald Eagle Festival and our former Chair Tom Cadieux is coordinating the program.

The program is held at my favorite facility -- the Pretty Estates Resort -- the home of our Harrison Mills Bald Eagle nest cam. This meeting, in addition to giving more people access to "how to be a volunteer" will enable you to have a pre-look at the new Bald Eagle Viewing Platform etc.

As outlined several of us will be giving details on the area's ecological highlights. The idea is to better arm people to answer questions if you are standing around these eagle viewing areas and get questions from the public. You do not have to commit to being a volunteer at the site and it occurred to me some of our Hancock Wildlife Foundation (HWF) followers might see this productive in answering questions about our Harrison Mills Nest Cams, the Chehalis Underwater Salmon Cam or the Chehalis Flats Tower Cams about to be reinstalled this weekend.

See you there.

Cheers.

David Hancock

* Note from Karen Bills (HWF): Volunteering for the FVBEF is not to be confused with volunteering for HWF at our booth in the exhibitor's hall at Leq'a:mel during the festival. This is completely separate and you are welcome to do both. If you want to help man our booth please email me at karen@hancockwildlife.org



The Fraser Valley Bald Eagle Festival Society is once again proud to present a "Volunteer Training Program" for anyone that is interested in a free information session. Limited seating available.

PLEASE NOTE: To help us plan the day we are asking you to register by reserving your seat(s) with Tom Cadieux hrtminer@telus.net

Date: Nov 8th , 2013
Location: Rowena's Inn at Pretty Estates Resort (aka Sandpiper Golf Course)
Time: 10am 12pm

There will be three topics on the agenda (bring your questions too):

The Eagle and Trumpeter Swans of the Valley - Gord Gadsden FVRD
The Salmon in the Chehalis / Harrison River - James Weger DFO
The Chehalis Flats Bald Eagle and Salmon Preserve David Hancock Hancock Wildlife Foundation

Thank you! Your dedication and passion for the area is very much appreciated.

Jo-Anne Chadwick
Fraser Valley Bald Eagle Festival Chair

www.fvbef.ca
www.facebook.com/fvbef

Nov. 16-17,2013

The FVBEF is a registered charity.


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By: davidh (offline) on Monday, October 21 2013 @ 06:12 PM EDT  
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Christian Sasse and I for the past couple of years have planned on a systematic methodology of counting the eagles at the Harrison River. My former counts for the official Fraser Valley Bald Eagle Festival counts were done from 6 set locations from Harrison Bay around past the Highway 7 bridge northward up Morris Valley Road to Tapadera RV Estates. I have made these counts for many years and sometimes from the date of the Festival on through the winter and we will work to replicating this information -- but with photographic verification and accuracy.

While my above counts were always 'counts' and not estimates, they were always far under the actual number of birds present. Some birds were simply in the 'dips' below sight and others sitting on the backside of trees. This difficulty also applies to counting birds with the camera but the higher resolution leaves less doubt -- a head can be verified as an eagle! Furthermore, because my telescope did not have sufficient resolution to differentiate the juveniles on the far side of the river, 1.5 to 2.5 km. away, I was also missing them and under-counting. Many of these juveniles are seen with the high res camera. Last year we experimented with a motorized camera mount and high resolution lens. This year Christian Sasse has improved the resolution of his equipment and we should be able to distinguish even juveniles across the flats.

This year we may also incorporate a new counting position in the north-east section of the Flats. This count will come from cooperation with the Fraser River Safari boat tours that enable us to access the eagles on the east side of the Harrison River, north of what can be seen from the eagle observatories.

Attached is his first shot of the year, taken Oct. 20, 2013, 7:54 AM. This test shot does not even cover all the Chehalis Flats and of course does not cover any of the other advantage points of the official count. However, yesterday we already had 443 eagles visible at one time on the northern section of the Chehalis Flats. Our eagles are coming south!

Minutes ago in discussions with Christian he mentioned that soon he will present the composite images with grid lines to facilitate counting. We will set up a Table for Counts and Locations with dates so others can follow the arrival - and departure -- of the eagles -- and possibly the trumpeter swans as well.
This Harrison River Bald Eagle & Trumpeter Swan Counts Table will be posted on the Hancock Wildlife Foundation site and periodically updated. The table will be accompanied by a map of the sites and the arc viewed from each location. We will distribute the url so you can get the updated counts. By keeping the official count at one site you will get frequently updated counts as the season progresses.

Attached for your reference is the url to Christian Sasse's first photograph.

http://www.gigapan.com/gigapans/bafe604 ... 38c32536f8

Thanks.

David Hancock


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By: davidh (offline) on Saturday, October 26 2013 @ 12:28 AM EDT  
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Hancock here: The Fraser Valley Bald Eagle Festival is firing on 1000!

This week the eagle count was already over 500 birds and next week it would not surprise me to be pushing 1000 eagles -- all lined up on the Chehalis Flats. Will we reach 10,000 again this year? Only time will tell.

Please book your schedule to join us at the Festival or on the following weeks -- I will be out with Jo-Anne and Rob on their wonderful warm and dry tour boat many times during the fall and winter -- and that is the best way to see the most birds.

http://fraserriversafari.com/eagle-watc ... d-hancock/

Also check our our Chehalis Tower cams:

index.php?topic=cam-sites

The 2013 Fraser Valley Bald Eagle Festival program of events is now on line:

http://fraservalleybaldeaglefestival.ca ... rogram.pdf

I have even written a few short items for this publication.

See you at Harrison Mills!

David Hancock


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By: davidh (offline) on Monday, November 04 2013 @ 03:05 PM EST  
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Hancock here: Attached is a Chehalis Flats image by Christian Sasse taken yesterday AM after the fog lifted and the fishermen passed by. His big image showing part of the flats had just over 310 eagles on the ground and in the attached shot showing our tower, being used by two juveniles with just over 110 birds in the surrounding area, gives some indication that the eagles are already moving into the area.

Earlier I predicted that we would have the eagles likely arriving later than usual since there are good quantities of fish spawning on many of the northern BC and Alaskan rivers. The long-time tradition is that the eagles stay feeding in the north until the fish are eaten or they are frozen under the ice. Then the eagles come south. On top of this of course are those eagles that have already in previous years learned that the Harrison-Chehalis area is a bonanza for much of the fall and winter and they come early.

Just over 60% of the eagles present are sub-adults which is a very high ratio. However, when we reach 5000 to count the ratios will be more significant. As one can see in Christian's attached image there are lots of fish scattered along the river banks and the main spawn has yet to happen. I am looking forward to my trips with Jo and Rob (Fraser River Safari Tours http://fraserriversafari.com/eagle-watc ... d-hancock/) in their boat for a closer look. The first eagle tours begin on Nov. 16, the first day of the Fraser Valley Bald Eagle Festival (FVBEF www.fvbef.ca)

Hope to see many of you at the FVBEF (see detail of activities at the above website) Nov 16 and 17 plus at the Sts'ailes Salmon Celebration, also held at Harrison Mills, on the following weekend: Saturday, Nov 23. By the way Christian will be holding a photo exhibit of his "eagle prints" at Pretty Estates for a whole month. Make sure you drop by and say hi to him.

For me one of the biggest pleasures this fall season will be seeing the eagles from Betty Anne's new Bald Eagle Observatory -- located right on Pretty Estates just 100 meters from our -- her -- Harrison Mills Eagle cams. Of course her tower is right on the edge of the Chehalis Flats looking out towards our tower with the two cams. If you have not followed the Harrison Mills events take a look at the Chehalis Tower cams www.hancockwildlife.org and click on Live Cameras and follow our "zoomers" who are constantly using the pan-tilt-zoom (PTZ) function of the cams to find the nearby eagles. Note in Christian's image that two juveniles are standing on the tower -- our AXIS 35 X zoom can give an eyeball view at the range! The Vivotek cam is 20 X zoom.

By the way I spoke with Ken earlier yesterday and he was on the way to the Pretty Estates Eagle Observatory. We are trying to get live coverage of all the eagles and festival events taking place right at the Observatory. We're trying!

Cheers.

David

Click on the picture twice to view it full screen width.

Click on image to download


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By: davidh (offline) on Saturday, November 09 2013 @ 06:51 PM EST  
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Indeed the eagles are arriving. - This morning at light Christian Sasse took a composite image of the Chehalis Flats and I just finished counting the birds present.

Nov 8, 2013: Composite Image of eagles sitting on the Chehalis Flats. I did not try counting eagles in the trees!

Adults: 343
Juveniles: 638 + 1 = 639

TOTAL: 981 + 1 sitting on our Chehalis Live Cam Tower. I didn't initially see him as he was above my count area on the first run through.

((NOTE: Here is the url to Christian's composite image. If you wish to look in more detail please allow the 20+ images to expand. I have to copy the image to my desktop before I can enlarge. Note that our Chehalis Tower is surrounded by eagles and one juvenile sits on the top. Probably that bird is full!

See http://www.gigapan.com/gigapans/144329

This number of course does not include all the others sitting in the trees along either shoreline, soaring above the local hills or the hundred plus in Harrison Bay on the south side of the Harrison Bridge. So with 981 eagles countable on the central Chehalis bar we could easily have 1,200 to 1,500 already at Harrison Mills.

This indicates over 50 are arriving daily so for the Fraser Valley Bald Eagle Festival weekend, Nov. 16 -17, we could easily have 2,000 in the count area. And most of these will be viewable from either the Eagle Point Observatory or the ,new Pretty Estates Observatory.

This is actually more eagles than I predicted since the southeast area of Alaska and the Northern BC rivers have had good salmon runs this fall and as of yet we have not had a week of very cold freezing weather to lock the salmon carcasses under the ice. This left me predicting that the big numbers of eagles, the 5 to 10,000, might not arrive until mid to late December. Perhaps many aren't waiting for the freeze up up north. They are coming south early. Of course you can't blame them. They have heard of our Festival and are coming for our salmon barbeque!

Of course the "non-comparable" element with my previous counts is that my previous counts, done using the binoculars and telescope, could not so accurately see eagle heads appearing above the gravel bars or several eagles closely packed together. I probably got most of the eagles sitting on the sand bars but not as many as are so readily countable on Christian's high resolution pictures. And when it comes to counting eagles up in the trees, where they blend in with the branches and generally when they are over a kilometer away, I only see the adults' white heads, I suspect I have under-counted earlier by sometimes 50%. In fact in a recent photo I show in my new talks, it is easy and likely to count 10 eagles in the photo. On blowing up these high resolution images you can then count 8 adults and 12 juveniles.

Perhaps the day I counted 7,362 eagles in that one section of the Chehalis Flats on Dec. 18, 2010 there were over 12 to 15,000 eagles present! So here is my challenge; come join us at Harrison Mills -- the Bald Eagle Capital of the World and make your own counts.

Cheers.

David Hancock


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By: davidh (offline) on Saturday, November 09 2013 @ 07:09 PM EST  
davidh

Hancock here: Wow -- the Pretty Estates Bald Eagle Observatory is nearing completion.

Click on image to download

This site will offer the public the greatest opportunity to view Bald Eagles anywhere in the world. The attached composite of Christian Sasse will be part of a regular count that we perform throughout the season to help us determine the seasonality of the eagles.

This year we had expected the eagles to be later in arriving since many of the northern rivers had reasonable runs of salmon to feed the eagles and hold them in the north. The final act to push them southward to our offerings would be the freezing over of the rivers and shutting off of the salmon carcasses. While the north had not yet frozen over, apparently the eagles' success at the Chehalis - Harrison River the past years has already convinced many to come south early.

As you can see in the following linked image of the central flats -- 982 observed eagles are already here yesterday morning at 7.14am. http://www.gigapan.com/gigapans/144329.

Also note when you are at the Pretty Estates parking lot you are almost below our Harrison Mills Bald Eagle nest with the cams, and just up the road is the Chehalis Fish Hatchery where we have the underwater salmon cam and, of course, at the river's edge at the Pretty Estates is their Bald Eagle Observatory looking out at our cams on the Chehalis Flats. We hope to collectively help tell the story of this incredible river.

This is my invitation to come to the Fraser Valley Bald Eagle Festival, November 16 & 17, when we will have all sorts of events, displays and talks -- and scopes set up so you can see these eagles. For details of the schedules see: www.fvbef.ca If you want to book a river tour check out http://fraserriversafari.com/ On most weekends through the end of the year I will be on board some of the tours to talk about these eagles.

My personal guarantee is that there will be 1,000 + eagles at Harrison Mills for the Festival weekend. The keys to seeing that many are to come early as the dominant birds feed at on the bars at daylight and dusk. When the eagles are disturbed by fisherman or people not respecting the Chehalis Flats Bald Eagle & Salmon Preserve "etiquette" of not walking on the Flats the eagles retreat to the trees along the hillsides and most are readily seen from the eagle observatories or the deep water channels where the tour boats travel. The eagles don't mind people or boats below them -- they just don't want to be approached as they sit feeding and relaxing on the gravel bars.

If you come out and see us, please say hi and identify yourself as a HWF Cam watcher.

Cheers.

David Hancock


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