Monday, August 05, 2013

 Hawk Mountain's Common Room, now known as the Irma Broun-Kahn Education Building
I spent most of Saturday at Hawk Mountain, near Kempton PA, attending Laurie Goodrich’s annual Kittatinny Roundtable.  Laurie is Hawk Mountain's senior monitoring biologist.  The event brings together site leaders from hawkwatches in PA and NJ to discuss results from the previous season of raptor migration, hear about new research and generally give us something hawk-related to do in midsummer when migration really isn’t underway yet. (Yes, I know Waggoner’s Gap and a few other hawkwatches start their fall seasons in early August, but this past Saturday it was raining, so no one had any excuse for sitting on a hawkwatch).

This year the roundtable was held in the newly renovated Common Room.  The new Common Room also has a new name, the Irma Broun-Kahn Education Building, named after the wife of the sanctuary’s first curator.. The old Common Room was the site of educational programs for school kids and was used for volunteer parties and other events.  The new Common Room kept the lovely stone fireplace, the hardwood floor and the ceiling beams of the old one, but the rest is modernized and high-tech.

At our session on Saturday, we heard a talk about threats to the Jacks Mountain hawkwatch in Mifflin County from proposed wind farms.  The projects, which are still in the early stages, would likely end the watch there, as the proposed wind farms would likely level the top of the mountain by 100-300 feet in order to build a shelf on the knife-edged mountain for the wind turbines. More information about that is on the Facebook pages for the Friends of Jacks Mountain and SOAR (Save our Allegheny Ridges).  Jacks Mountain has upwards of 20 years of hawk count data in the national database, HawkCount.

We also heard the details of a Broad-winged Hawk nest study done at Hawk Mountain this spring where the young birds went from birth to fledging in 33 days and that the young birds were fed mostly short-tailed shrews and chipmunks, with one unidentified amphibian as their “baby food.”

The last presentation was from Dr. Michael May asking hawkwatchers to help the Xerces Society document dragonfly migration during our fall hawkwatches.  Dragonfly migration studies are so far not well documented, and Dr. May is interested in just about any information we can provide.  A sample data sheet has been developed, and using that sheet this fall is considered a pilot project to work out any “bugs” (pun intended) we may find with the process.


Scott said...

The newly renovated building is very attractive. I hope that you had an enjoyable, productive, and useful rainy day.

This question will certainly show my ignorance of such matters, but do many dragonflies migrate near the tops of ridges? Seems counter-intuitive since they're aquatic (and hence, lowland) creatures. Perhaps he was just asking naturalists to keep their eyes peeled in general to watch for dragonflies.

Carolyn H said...

Apparently more dragonflies migrate at lower altitudes, but the ridges still get a nice flight. I know I've seen many on the ridges.