LAKE COMO, NJ — Confirming recent chatter on social media, local photographer Nancy Orlowski spotted a bald eagle at Lake Como on Thursday afternoon.
She was on a routine walk on November 21 at about 3:45 p.m. when she saw the majestic bird up in the bare branches of a tree along the banks of the picturesque lake.
Since October, area residents have posted on various social media sites claiming to have seen bald eagles, but Orlowski’s photos are the first to document that the endangered species is in the area. She is known for her photographs of wildlife along the Jersey Shore, including capturing springtime visits by baby seals that come ashore along the Belmar and Spring Lake beachfront.
During the past few years, there has been an increase of sightings in this area of bald eagles, following a statewide trend. According to the N.J. Division of Fish and Wildlife, the bald eagle is a shining example of recovery of an animal facing extinction. In 1973, when the Endangered and Nongame Species Conservation Act was passed, there was just one nesting pair in a remote forest in Cumberland County — a number that has climbed to nearly 190 in 2018.
In 2019, there were 238 pairs of bald eagles monitored in New Jersey, according to the Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey. While most are in the Delaware Bay counties of Cumberland and Salem, eagles can now be found statewide, including in Monmouth County — the most popular nesting location being the InfoAge Learning Center in the former Camp Evans, Wall.
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