|View to the north from Waggoner's Gap hawkwatch|
It’s September and for me that is the start of the prime hawkwatching season. It’s still the early part of the prime season, so I haven’t yet seen hundreds, let alone thousands of hawks. But the weather and the wind both were promising after Hurricane Earl passed, so on Sunday I headed to nearby Waggoner’s Gap for a day on the mountain.
The results were a good, solid day of hawkwatching. The highlight was the 15 bald eagles I saw. I left before the counter did, so he picked up another after I left. A second highlight was the ravens, including the Red-tailed Hawk and the raven that spent a good five minutes swooping on each other. It was a little hard to tell if they were serious or just having fun. It looked a bit more like fun to me, at least most of the time. Some of the ravens may have been the local pair, plus their young one, so I don’t know how many different ravens I actually saw. I know I saw ravens 8-9 times and at least a few of them were migrating.
Broad-winged hawks, those little hawks that flock and fly in kettles, as we call their flocks (because they appear to be boiling out of a kettle), were in shorter supply than I hoped for, but it is early yet. I also saw American Kestrel, a merlin, plenty of Sharp-shinned hawks and a lone Cooper’s Hawk.
The weather was outstanding, though a little less blue sky and a few more clouds would have been greatly appreciated.