Mount Peter Ski Area is known as “The Friendly One”. I think the same can be said for Mount Peter Hawkwatch, where the birding is great but camaraderie is awesome too. I was basically rained out yesterday (I managed only one relatively rain-free hour at the watch, where I had 5 Sharp-shinned Hawks stream through), so I headed up to Mount Pete this morning get my fix. There was a strong WNW wind and I was hoping for a good flight and maybe even a Golden Eagle. I wasn’t the only one that had that idea – Mt. Pete counters Judy Cinquina, Tom Millard, and Denise Farrell all joined me and the official counter of the day, Ken Witkowski on the viewing platform. There were also several visitors and they all seemed to be serious hawkwatchers too. It was a great group and I really enjoyed my time up there today. Birding often serves as an escape for me, time to get away from everything and everyone, but hawkwatching is one of the exceptions to this and the social aspect is often just as rewarding as the birding.
As for the hawks – the wind was very strong up on the mountain, making it difficult to keep my binoculars steady and early on, I wondered if the wind was too strong for a good flight. Thankfully, that was not the case. In the 4 hours I spent on the mountain, we had a good Sharp-shinned Hawk flight with over 40 Sharpies being counted. Red-tailed Hawks and Red-shouldered Hawks were also moving a little bit, with 10 and 5 birds counted respectively. It was interesting to us that on a day with such strong winds, it was the little Sharpie that was braving the wind, rather than the larger birds. We had only two Bald Eagles while I was there, one was a local bird that headed north, and the other migrated. As for Golden Eagles, I’m sure one migrated through shortly after I left the watch (as of this writing the report had not been completed). It was a great day at the watch and it made up nicely for missing my day of counting yesterday.