The annual January eagle survey of the Pipestem area is scheduled for January 12. Jim Phillips, Pipestem State Park naturalist, is coordinating the various survey sites and assignments and inviting anyone interested to be part of this winter four-hour foray.
Phillips schedules novice birders with more experienced volunteers to scan the skies and record eagle sightings over a four-hour period. Various survey sites include South Overlook of Bluestone Dam, Bull Falls, Bluestone State Park, Mouth of the Bluestone River, Rt. 20, Bellepoint Park in Hinton, Bertha campground (Bluestone WMA), Greenbrier River, Sandstone Falls and other areas.
“Depending upon how many folks sign up to help, we have from six to 12 survey points established,” said Phillips. In January 2012, 38 people participated and confirmed sightings of 19 bald eagles and an adult golden eagle. In January 2012, with temperatures in the low 20s, 10 individuals reported sighting six bald eagles and two golden eagles. “Our population is growing in southern West Virginia,” Phillips said.
To be part of the eagle survey, contact Jim Phillips at 304-466-1800 ext. 344 or email <a href="mailto:[email protected]" target="_blank">[email protected]</a> with phone contact information and names wanting to volunteer prior to January 7. Include “Eagle Survey” in the subject line. Phillips contacts participants in advance to determine the best location, to create teams and to forward the forms to record sightings. The survey begins at 10 a.m. and continues until 2 p.m. All participants will meet at the Hinton Dairy Queen at 3 p.m. with collected data.
“In recent weeks we have had sightings of adult bald eagles at Bacon Falls on the Greenbrier River and between Forest Hill and Greenville along Indian Creek,” said Phillips. On “The Big Sit” survey in October, Phillips indicates a pair of adult bald eagles was seen at Mt. Valley Lake near Jumping Branch and one adult was there during a November field trip. In spring of 2012, Phillips witnessed two bald eagle fledglings.
Phillips schedules eagle watches as part of his interpretative programs at Pipestem State Park. Activities organized by Pipestem Resort are regularly posted at <a href="http://www.pipestemresort.com/Activities.pdf" target="_blank">www.pipestemresort.com/Activities.pdf</a>.