Is the improving weather along the east coast responsible for hawkwatch leaders wanting to get out and see what’s flying? Or is it just that they can’t wait to see a few hawks?
Whatever the motivation, six hawkwatches have already started counting for the fall season—four in Pennsylvania and one each in Maryland and Virginia. Typically, sites are not yet counting for full days and are often reporting for just 2-4 hours of the day.
So what are these “early bird” sites seeing? Waggoner’s Gap near Carlisle, Pennsylvania, has already reported on 8 count days, the most so far, with the number of hours ranging between 3-7 hours in a day. They’ve counted 11 bald eagles, exactly 25% of the total 44 birds seen. Broad-winged Hawks are also reported at 11 birds, so those two species account for half of their total. American Kestrels and Red-tailed Hawks make up most of the rest of the sightings.
Second Mountain, not far west of Hawk Mountain, has counted on 3 days of the new season so far, finding 7 birds, 3 of them Red-tailed Hawks. The other sites have all reported counts on just one day so far. Four sites reported for August 10, making it the best day of the season, both for the number of sites covered and the number of raptors seen. A total of 26 raptors were counted, of which 9 were kestrels, 6 broadwings and 4 bald eagles (all at Waggoner’s Gap).
And what will next week bring? As we start to move deeper into the season and more hawkwatches open, you can certainly bet on more hawks!
Do you have any fall migration photos you'd like to share? If so, please send them to me at falcon07 at ptd dot net. I'll post 1-2 a week.