Bald Eagle Watching at Harrison Hot Springs

A visit to Harrison Hot Springs during Bald Eagle season turned into a once-in-a-lifetime experience

Credit: Michael Small

Bald Eagle Watching at Harrison Hot Springs Resort and Spa is a World-class Experience

If you ever have the opportunity to visit Harrison Hot Springs Hotel and Spa during peak Bald Eagle season, do it. Don’t hem and haw. Pack an overnight bag with warm clothes, grab your favourite camera, preferably one with a telephoto lens (iPhones aren’t going to cut it) and go.

I had the chance to head up to Harrison Hot Springs for a boat tour on Harrison River where the Bald Eagles congregate, in order to experience this fascinating bit of nature. Two things: I’m not much of an outdoorsman and I’m terrible with a camera. Even with those two strikes against me, it was one-of-a-kind experience that I highly recommend.

Harrison Hot Springs Hotel and Spa

Many nice words have been written about all of the wonderful things you can do while visiting Harrison Hot Springs Hotel and Spa, and you’ve undoubtedly heard about the muscle-melting massages, taste bud-tantalizing dinners at The Copper Room (shout out to houseband The Jones Boys, who are undeniably fun) and late-night dips in the rejuvenating hot springs.

But let me say this – you embrace the atmosphere at Harrison Hot Springs Hotel and Spa once you set your foot in the door. When you see robed guests prance giddily to scheduled massage treatments, other visitors sipping delicious cocktails at Islands Bar, you can’t help but get sucked into the experience.

And a night spent in the Harrison Hot Spring pools under the moonlight is a memory that will stick with you. It’s incredible how quickly you feel rejuvenated after only a few hours.

Preparing for the Bald Eagles

After a delicious breakfast of eggs, sausage and yogurt, it was time to meet with our guide for the day, BC photographer Graham Osborne, who will be offering indoor and outdoor workshops during Bald Eagle Weekend from November 24-25.

Osborne led our group through a mid-breakfast nature photography workshop, laying out simple and effective tips that would help us more effectively capture the moment. (Disclaimer: My amateurish photos are no reflection on Osborne as a teacher – he’s fantastic.)

Osborne, whose enthusiasm for the spectacular nature on display was contagious, believes Harrison offers an experience that is unlike any other.

“The eagles situation here is like nowhere else,” he says. “You have the potential to see a world-class concentration of Bald Eagles that you can’t see anywhere else in the world.”

After the nature photographer whipped us into shape, we were led to a boat, cameras in hand, ready to snap pictures of these noble birds in their element. The following photos detail the rest of this amazing adventure.

Credit: Michael Small

Our Eagle Watching Adventure Begins!

Our group waved goodbye to the wonderful comforts of Harrison Hot Springs Resort and set out into the wild

Credit: Michael Small

Boating on the Harrison River

Luckily for us, it was a gorgeous day out on the water. The sun was shining and the air was crisp

Credit: Michael Small

Preparing for the Eagles

Here, photographer Graham Osborne provides us with some last-minute tips (the rule or thirds!) before we encountered our bald friends

Credit: Michael Small

Bald Eagles on the Harrison River

Look at all those Bald Eagles! Thousands of these magnificent birds flock to the Harrison Hot Springs area every fall and stay until February

Credit: Michael Small

A Bald Eagle Takes Flight

Countless Bald Eagles soar through the beautiful scenery that surrounds Harrison River

Credit: Michael Small

Eagles in their Element

Watching the Bald Eagles in their natural habitat – as they glide through the air, dive for fish in the water and scuffle for space on a branch – truly has to be seen in person

Credit: Michael Small

Shoring Up

Our scenic tour guide and boat master Bill Sivak navigated the turbulent current with aplomb

Credit: Michael Small

Enjoying the View

Our group of adventurers found steady footing on a landbar, where we paushed to take in our incredible surroundings

Credit: Michael Small

Evidence of Dinner

There were plenty of dead fish on shore, many of whom had been feasted on by the hungry eagles

Credit: Michael Small

The Eagles of Harrison

The sight of so many Bald Eagles gathered together in one place is stunning, and Harrison Hot Springs offers one of the best views in the world