About Me

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Spofford, New Hampshire, United States
Jeff Newcomer had been a physician practicing in New Hampshire and Vermont for over 30 years. Over that time, as a member of the Conservation Commission in his home of Chesterfield New Hampshire, he has used his photography to promote the protection and appreciation of the town's wild lands. In recent years he has been transitioning his focus from medicine to photography, writing and teaching. Jeff enjoys photographing throughout New England, but has concentrated on the Monadnock Region and southern Vermont and has had a long term artistic relationship with Mount Monadnock. He is a featured artist in a number of local galleries and his work is often seen in regional print, web publications and in business installations throughout the country. For years Jeff has published a calendar celebrating the beauty of The New England country-side in all seasons. All of the proceeds from his New England Reflections Calendar have gone to support the Pulmonary Rehabilitation Program at the Cheshire Medical Center. Jeff has a strong commitment to sharing his excitement about the special beauty of our region and publishes a blog about photography in New England.

Monday, August 13, 2018

Finding My Eagles, At Long Last

Broken Snag
For the last several years I have enjoyed observing the activities in “my” eagle nest on a snag across the Connecticut River from my home town of Chesterfield New Hampshire.  With what is for me uncharacteristic patience, see : 
Temptation of One Minute More. 
I have monitored, and photographed the nest building, chick hatching and nurturing, as well as the soaring of these majestic scavengers.  Each year, the nest, had been improved and more thickly woven into the scaffold of it precarious perch.  Sadly, last winter the inevitable happened and the barren snag was toppled by a winter storm and in the process, I lost my eagles.

Over the years, I have become closely attached to “my” eagles, and I felt their loss personally. All  spring and summer, I have been searching for the 
Juvenile fly-over
eagle’s new home.  I was reassured by those who told me that deposed eagles typically re-establish a nest close to their former location, but despite frequent searches along the river, I had failed to find any evidence of my birds.  On a couple of occasions, I thought I might have caught a fleeting glimpse of an eagle high in the sky, but I could never be sure, and I wasn’t able to see where they might have been settling.

I had nearly given up hope, but then recently I had seen a reference to a sighting of a nest in a birch about 100 yards in from the Connecticut River shore. The reference was maddeningly nonspecific, but early this week I decided to go for another look. 

New Nest
  I parked at spots along the River Road, and then went on foot to explore the bank opposite to the river.  Nothing, but as is so often the case, the real break came as I talked to the folks passing by on the road.  The first car stopped to politely ask me to get my car off the edge of his lawn. With our narrow back country roads, there is always a fine line between staying out of the road and keeping off the lawn. I was quick to comply with his request, but I also learned from him that the eagles had moved to a nest a bit further south.  The driver of the next truck stopped to see what I was doing, and he was able to tell me that my eagles where in a tree on his neighbor’s land. It all goes to confirm two facts about New England nature photography.

  • First, it always pays to talk to the people who you encounter in your explorations.  This is especially true of those who gaze suspiciously out of their windows at the funny looking guy with the tripod.
  • Second, the overwhelming majority of these people are friendly, welcoming and thrilled to help.  It turns out that , at least in rural New England, most landowners are proud of there small corner of natural beauty and are excited that someone would want to photograph the scene. In return, I honor any limitations they may have and often drop off a print of the results of my work.

I was excited to go to the new location, and again, found a very friendly and helpful home owner.  Peter directed me to best spot to see the nest, which was not easy to find, high up in the branches of a spruce.  As I expected, the nest was not as large as their previous home, but I suspect that it will expand over the years.  He then suggested that I explore a spot along the river which was a frequent resting area for my birds.  

Hidden Vigil
It was there that I finally found them.  I first saw a mature Eagle hidden among the leaves and caught a couple of shots as it took wing.  On this first day I captured the birds in occasional fly-overs.  I suspect they were acclimating to this intruder camped along the brook.

Vermont Shore Landing
  The next day I was able to get good shots of both a mature and a juvenile bird perched in nearby trees, and a pair of mature eagles in a tree across the river on the distant Vermont shore.

It was a great couple of days.  The pictures were not among my best eagle images, but the wonderful thing was that I finally found “my” eagles.  Peter told me that an Audubon official identified the male as being from the old nest, but he wasn’t as certain about the female. The new location presents its own set of challenges.  Looking up at the nest, it will always be strongly backlight, but having established a good viewing spot next to the river, I hope to be able to monitor more of the eagles daily activity.

Adult Bald Eagle
Juvenile Bald Eagle
It was great to relocate the eagles, but more importantly, I established a good relationship with the landowner, and was invited to return whenever I liked to photograph on his spectacular property.  Understandably, the owner did not want me to disclose the exact location of nesting site.  Being deep within private property, he feared a stampede of enthusiastic and persistent birders camping in his back yard. 

Jeffrey Newcomer


  1. That's wonderful you were able to locate "your" Eagles Jeff. I witnessed and documented an Eagle family here in MA this year. It was the first time for me, and I understand your attachment to this family.

  2. Beautiful shots, Jeff! They are so magnificent.