Mount Peter Hawkwatch, 11/11/23

I wrapped up my hawkwatching 2023 season on Saturday, and it ended on a good note. I had 83 migrating raptors, which included our best Red-tailed Hawk count for the year (45 birds), and additionally, I enjoyed a good variety of other migrants: Turkey Vulture (10), Bald Eagles (8), Northern Harrier (3), Sharp-shinned Hawk (7), Cooper’s Hawk (1), Red-shouldered Hawk (8), and Peregrine Falcon (1). I’ve included my report at the bottom of this post.

Unfortunately, it was a disappointing season at Mount Peter. We never had a big day for Broad-winged Hawks. The weather worked against us more than for us. And our total year count is way down with only 3,680 migrants tallied for the season as of this evening. Compare that to nearly 5,000 last year and over 10,000 in 2021.

~~A Purple Finch takes pause at Mount Peter Hawkwatch, 11/11/23.~

For me personally, it was mostly a subpar season. September was slow. October was basically a rainout; I was scheduled to count on three Saturdays, and between the three days the weather only allowed for a paltry 4 1/2 hours and 22 migrating raptors. I enjoyed my 2 Saturdays in November but they did not produce any special birds.

BUT, the few good days I did have at Mount Pete this season have somehow rejuvenated my love for hawkwatching. It’s been a few seasons since I’ve had that feeling – the joy and excitement of a day searching the skies for birds. Hawkwatching is how I started birding and it’s been nice getting back to it. I’m ending this season looking forward to next year; I didn’t see that coming.

~This Red-tailed Hawk perched on the cell tower in front of the platform for 15 minutes before zooming past us and into the valley. Mount Peter Hawkwatch, 11/12/23.~
~Female Purple Finch at Mt. Pete, 11/11/23.~

4 thoughts on “Mount Peter Hawkwatch, 11/11/23”

  1. It was nice to pass by the Mt. Pete hawkwatch to meet you and see your dedication. I look forward to pass by again next year. See you around.

  2. Hi Matt,
    Hoping the weather cooperates this winter and isn’t too snowy. Perhaps the Hawks will have better luck with hunting, and we’ll see more of them! I’ve seen a few nice ones here on Jessup Switch Rd. Red shouldered, Kestrels, Red Tailed Hawks and the occasional Eagle. When the Soybean fields have been harvested, they will have a better shot too.
    Fingers crossed… Patty

    1. I always look forward to the raptors in the winter in Orange County, Patty, fingers crossed that it’s a good winter for them. Matt

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