I reluctantly decided not to drive to one of the larger hawkwatches this weekend for two reasons. The wind was from the NE, not the best direction for an eastern fall hawkwatch, and worse, the sky was completely and profoundly blue.
Blue sky is the bane of hawkwatchers. The hawks don’t mind it and in fact probably love it, flying so high into the stratosphere that they are little more than tiny, tiny black dots that are almost impossible to see. I like to look at hawks, not dots, or even the slightly larger dots with wings. I like to see the birds themselves and even count their primary feathers, if I can. Dots just don’t make it for me.
So I stayed home and took Dog, my binoculars and my chair out to the new pond to see what I could see from there. I started at 10 a.m. and was only out until 11:30 a.m. Even though I had sunglasses and a brimmed hat, I still ended up with a headache from looking into that blue sky. Here’s what I saw:
My first sighting was two hummingbirds that may or may not have been migrating. The goldfinch and the pewee that came soon after were still summer residents. Next came a flock of 30 starlings, a cardinal and some local blue jays. Then I heard a killdeer and two dueling Carolina wrens.
After 15 minutes I heard a croaking sound that made my ears prick up. And suddenly a raven soared out of the north, gliding and making fussing noises, crossing over the pond and towards the southwest. Now that made my morning!
After that, came turkey vultures, migrating dragonflies (orange and blue ones) and monarch butterflies. I heard a chickadee, saw several chimney swifts, black vultures and mourning doves. I had one red-tailed hawk.
All told, not bad for an hour and a half, but I would have preferred a slight breeze from the NW and some clouds to hold the hawks down into the range of good visibility.