Hawkwatch Begins!


~It’s that time of year! Get ready for some Turkey Vulture photos! Even when the migrating raptors are flying high, these dudes usually give up a photo op. Mount Peter Hawkwatch, 9/5/15.~


So the big news of the day is that it was my first day of the season as official counter out at Mount Peter Hawkwatch. For those who don’t know, Mount Peter Hawkwatch is located on Kain Road, just off of route 17A in Warwick. It’s right across from Bellvale Farms Creamery. Every day from September 1st until November 15th, there will be an official counter tallying all the migrating raptors that pass over. The results from each day’s count are reported to the Hawk Migration Association of North America (HMANA) and can be seen at their website HawkCount. They can also be seen on the Mount Peter Facebook Page.

~One of 2 migrating Ospreys from today’s count. Mount Peter Hawkwatch, 9/5/15.~

I am excited to be the official counter every Saturday of the season with the exceptions of September 12th and 26th. The season has gotten off to a slow start, but I expect that to change quickly. I had a decent day with only 17 migrating raptors, but plenty of non-migrating raptor action to keep me entertained. For the day I had 10 BALD EAGLE SITINGS! Only four of the birds migrated and went on the official count, but what fun to see so many eagles. The highlight was certainly having one immature and two adult Bald Eagles flying high, directly over the viewing platform. I’ve included a sequence of distant photos of one adult and the immature mixing it up pretty good. I swear, I saw the adult do two barrel rolls! It was fantastic.

~It was great fun to watch this live. An adult and an immature Bald Eagle tangle way overhead. Heavy crop here! Mount Peter Hawkwatch, 9/5/15.~

And here is my report for the day:



I actually got out early this morning and went back to look for the Baird’s Sandpipers that were at Turtle Bay yesterday evening, hoping to get a better look and perhaps some photos. I located one at Turtle Bay, more distant than they were the day before, and then Bruce Nott called to say he had 3 Baird’s Sandpipers at his location and they were pretty close. I hustled over to meet Bruce and was able to improve on my photos from last night considerably. Huge thanks to Bruce for the heads up!

~Baird’s Sandpiper in the grass in the Black Dirt Region, 9/5/15.~
~Two of the 3 Baird’s Sandpipers that I photographed this morning in the black dirt. The photo is backlit but still appeals to me for some reason. 9/5/15.~

After I left Mount Peter, I went to 6 1/2 Station Sanctuary Citgo Trail to see, one if the Stilt Sandpiper was still around, and two, if anything new had come in. When I arrived at the pond, the STSA was still present, a little closer and in nice evening light. I was able to improve on my shots of this bird as well. The pond was quite birdy, with many Least Sandpipers again, plenty of Killdeer, and several Pectoral Sandpipers and Lesser Yellowlegs. It was a nice way to end a really super day of birding.

~Stilt Sandpiper feeding at the Citgo Pond, 6 1/2 Station Road Sanctuary, 9/5/15.~
~This is what I call a lot of swallows! I ran across these birds in my travels this morning in the Black Dirt Region. From what I can tell, these are basically all Tree Swallows, 9/5/15.~


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