Monday, September 09, 2013

A day spent hawkwatching

View to the north from Waggoner's Gap hawkwatch
Hawkwatching season is starting to move into prime time now, which means I will be spending as much time as I can on a hawkwatch. I usually go to Waggoner’s Gap, near Carlisle, PA, because it’s fairly close for me. It’s also a very good site, especially later in the fall for both Bald and Golden Eagles.

So on Sunday I found myself atop the mountain with Baby Dog and various other hawkwatchers looking for hawks. We had a very nice day, not as wonderful as the day before when I wasn’t there, but very nice even so.  I saw Bald Eagles, Ospreys, Broad-winged Hawks, Sharp-shinned Hawks, a Cooper’s Hawk, Black and Turkey Vultures, Ravens, Cedar Waxwings and hundreds or thousands of Chimney Swifts, just to name a few of the species.

Several Monarch butterflies were also seen, though no where near as many as is typical. That seems to be the case in many areas of the country, which are also reporting them in drastically reduced numbers. Three of the eagles we saw were interesting. All three migrated past within a minute of each other. All were on the same flight path and all were juvenile eagles, making us wonder if they were siblings.

This was Baby Dog’s first trip to a hawkwatch and may well be her last. Most of the time she was well-behaved and slept through much of the day.  However, she barked whenever anyone walked up the trail to the site, letting everyone know that “something” was coming.  She didn’t bark when they left.  And, if someone went to visit the port-a-potty a ways down the trail, she barked when they returned.  Maybe hawkwatching just isn’t for her.

1 comment:

Scott said...

All the nature centers around me are reporting few, if any, monarchs this year, Carolyn. It's so discouraging. However, we had our annual autumn plant sale last Saturday and a monarch floated by just as one of our native plant propagator volunteers who raises (and releases) monarchs for environmental educational purposes arrived for the day with a cage full of caterpillars and chrysalises; a nice coincidence.