Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Let the hawkwatching begin!

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.


Woodswalker said...

What a vista! And what a thrill to see so many hawks in one day, not even counting those wonderful ravens. Have fun!

Vagabonde said...

What a view! You live in a great area. There are so many trees all around me, but if we drive a few hours we can go into the north Georgia mountains. I saw a hawk in my backyard, it was creamy and beige. We have 4 bird feeders so he came to take a look I imagine.

Carolyn H said...

Woodswalker: It IS a great vista. The number of hawks was good for the early season, but in another week I expect to see a couple of thousand hawks in a single day. Several thousand if I'm lucky.

Carolyn H.

Carolyn H said...

Vagabonde: This time of year when the leaves are still on the trees, I don't have many spots with an open view. Waggoner's is rock outcropping, so the view is good all year long!

Thanks for visiting!
Carolyn H.