Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Harrison Bay Eagle Cam Project---The Beginning

Photo by Bret Rogers
I am sure all over the world there are certain things that make a nation's citizens swell up with pride and give them a sense of joy.  For most Americans, the sight of a bald eagle flying overhead definitely does that.  Last December when a pair of bald eagles came to The Bear Trace at Harrison Bay and began building a nest we were all excited and proud.  The eagles began constructing a nest in a 75 foot tall pine tree behind one of our greens during the middle of December.  This time of year at the golf course is relatively quiet.  Although we still have golfers visiting the golf course the level of play is down and our maintenance activities on the golf course are rather limited.  Our biggest fear was that when play picked up and our daily maintenance practices ramped up that the eagles would get annoyed and leave.  Well that didn't happen and the eagles stayed all year and were not the least bit worried or disturbed by the golfers or our maintenance activities.
Photo from Norfolk Botanical Gardens Eagle Cam

It was great to see the eagles flying around the golf course and building their nest but we wondered what it would be like to be "in" the nest with them.  After looking at several eagle cams from around the country I began to question why we could not do the same project.  It has taken the past year to gather information, technical support and funding for the project but we are just about there.  Our plan is to place two high definition cameras in the tree with the eagles.  These cameras will record activity from just above the nest and from a distant side view so hopefully we do not miss a thing.  The footage will be streamed live for all interested parties to view and will give us a look into the life of a bald eagle that many have not gotten to witness before.

The project is being initially funded by The Friends of Harrison Bay State Park, the United States Golf Association Green Section, and the East Tennessee and the Middle Tennessee Golf Course Superintendents Associations.  I can not tell you how grateful I am of these organizations to come on board with the project.  It is my hope that this project will continue to show how beneficial golf courses can be and give us an up close view into the nesting habits of American Bald Eagles.

Organizational meetings for the project took place in many locations.  This meeting at a local McDonald's involved officers of the Friends of Harrison Bay, and Bret Rogers, our photographer. 

Mitch Sivley is trenching the ditch in which the conduit will be placed.
Jonathen Whittemore is cleaning our the trench before the conduit is placed into the trench.  We installed around 900 feet of conduit which will reach from the tree to the golf course maintenance building. 
Bill Greene is helping to "pull" the power and communication wires through the conduit.  This was a slow but steady process which took most of the day to accomplish. 
The next step in the project will be to install the cameras in the tree and get them hooked up to the Internet.  Once that is done and we have some footage of the eagles we will begin our live stream of the eagles on

We hope you will all enjoy the project.