Schoharie County Eagle Trail Meet & Greet

SEEC and local wildlife photographer and Eagle expert Bill Combs Jr. will guide wildlife and eagle viewing as he introduces the Schoharie County Eagle Trail concept at the Franklinton Vlaie, Town of Broome, Schoharie County, NY. The event is intended for beginner to avid birders or photographers, wildlife enthusiasts and others interested in the developing Eagle Trail initiative meant to spur future economic activity.

The Saturday program will begin at 2:00 pm led by Bill Combs Jr. sharing general Eagle knowledge and his collection of stunning photographs collected over five years of study. Combs presentation will be followed by a discussion of the proposed Schoharie County Eagle Trail, local observation points, hot spots and anticipated launch Spring 2021.

“The main goal of mine is to inform anyone I can of the eagles we have in our area, “commented Combs Jr. “They’re magnificent birds, and all should get to enjoy them.”

The Franklinton Vlaie, a DEC designated wildlife viewing area where nature photography is encouraged, is one of the proposed Eagle Trail observation points. The Vlaie is an active Fall season locale where onlookers may observe eagles in their natural habitats.

“The Vlaie is particularly good in the Fall because eagles are hunting frequently to prepare for Winter,” stated Combs. “Being so plentiful with fish, this body of water is a favorite for eagles here in the county.”

The parking lot at Sterling Insurance Co. has become one of the favorite locations for Combs to track local Eagles year after year, as well as taking photos and videos of the hatching birds.

“Bill is very knowledgeable on the eagle’s in our county and he wants to share that information to others, “noted Steve Harris, president and CEO of Sterling Insurance Co. and Founding SEEC Board Member. Harris is also a major supporter of the proposed Schoharie County Eagle Trail project. Helping incubate the Eagle Trail from the start, Harris has been instrumental in pushing the project forward.

“I see this as a great project for the County”, commented Harris. “Once the Eagle Trail is able to take flight, I can see it helping county tourism, bringing in additional revenue to local businesses. We envision packaging lodging, and meals along with guided tours for the area visitors,” said Harris.

The US Fish and Wildlife Service reports $40.9 billion was spent by birdwatchers in 2011 to support their hobby. Birdwatchers are known to travel; it is estimated they spend $14.9 billion on food, lodging and transportation annually.

The October 17th meet and greet which starts at 2:00 pm will be a great opportunity to learn about our local eagle residents and build awareness and excitement for the official launch of the Schoharie County Eagle Trail anticipated Spring 2021. The Trail is planned to offer ten observation points in various locations across the county with additional hotspots identified for seasonal viewing. The Eagle Trail takes aim at educating individuals on the importance of eagles, protecting their habitats as well as increasing tourism activity throughout Schoharie County.


From Main Street in Middleburgh

  • Head southeast on NY-145 S/Main St toward Weimorse Ln
  •  Continue to follow NY-145 S
  •  The destination will be on the right

Questions contact:


The Franklinton Vlaie Wildlife Management Area (WMA) consists of about 195 acres of open water, wetland, and upland habitat in Schoharie County. It was acquired from private landowners in the 1980s and 1990s as part of a statewide program to acquire some of the most productive wetlands in New York. The pond and wetlands of Franklinton Vlaie are the headwaters to Catskill Creek. The 85-acre Vlaie Pond comprises a large portion of the WMA. It is surrounded by marshes and shrub swamp, comprised of species including buttonbush, cattail, water arum, pickerel weed, and red maple. Surrounding the pond and wetland are second growth maple-beech forests and active agricultural fields.

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