Monday, September 14, 2009

Looking towards Roundtop

The morning was still fully dark when Dog and I took our walk today. Not even a hint of dawn colored the eastern sky. Orion was high overhead. Today was the first I’d seen this warrior-protector since last spring. If I’d been awake at 2 or 3 a.m. and walked down the lane to where the woods opens to the sky, I would have seen it months earlier. But that didn’t happen, and today marked the first clear morning when it was still dark enough for me to see the constellation.

The clear morning was a continuation of yesterday’s clear sky, which you can see in today’s photo. I was hawkwatching up on Waggoner’s Gap again, staring into the blue sky and looking for hawks. I knew it would be a good day, as that nasty east coast storm finally moved off and after two days of rain finally allowed the birds to fly. It was a good day, but it would have been better with a few clouds in that sky.

The one-day record for Bald Eagles at Waggoner’s Gap is 30, and for a few hours yesterday, it looked as though the record might fall, but in the end it didn’t. Still a day when 28 Bald Eagles are seen can’t in any way be termed shabby. Back 25 years or so ago, when I hawkwatched almost exclusively at Hawk Mountain Sanctuary, a group of the regular hawkwatchers had a habit, after the day’s hawkwatching was over, of toasting each eagle we saw that day with our alcoholic beverage of choice. It was a rare day to see one, much rarer still to see 2 or 3. We gave up the practice about the time when 7 were seen on one day. Back then, the thought of seeing 28 in a single day wasn’t even dreamed about.

Today’s photo was taken atop Waggoner’s Gap looking south towards Roundtop. Roundtop is the second bump from the left side of the shot. I’ve always wondered if I turned on all the lights in the cabin, if I could spot the lights from this distance. I know I couldn’t now, with all the leaves on the trees. Perhaps I’ll try that later when the leaves are down.


The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Wow…28 bald eagles in a single day! Wow again!

Just think how interesting negotiating those rocks and the drive home would have been yesterday if you HAD continued that drink-per-eagle toast tradition. Though I'm betting you wouldn't have been up early enough this morning to see Orion!

Carolyn H said...

Griz: Well, I was only there for 25 of the eagles, but I'm still glad the dirnk/eagle tradition is something we could give up because of the success of the post DDT-era in eagle reproduction. And the second nice thing was that many of the eagles we saw yesterday was juveniles or second-year birds. So nesting success is still excellent.

Carolyn H.

Pablo said...

Spectacular! I hope you do try that lights-on endeavor someday.