Tuesday, September 11, 2012


Congratulations to Hawk Ridge MN for their 16,135 count on September 10. They counted 15,204 Broad-winged Hawks and 130 Bald Eagles, as well as 608 Sharp-shinned Hawks and 87 American Kestrels to reach their total. Included also were 7 Swainson's Hawks.

In the east, many sites posted numbers in the several hundreds, including Quaker Ridge CT, 959; Waggoner's Gap PA, 633; Militia Hill PA, 522; Franklin Mtn. NY, 475 and Holiday Beach ON, 418, to list just a few. 

Saturday, September 8, 2012

HMANA on Twitter! One more way to track raptors this fall

There has been a lot of talk amongst hawkwatchers over the years about finding better ways to stay in touch while hawkwatching and how to share up to the minute reports on what’s being seen across the network of sites. Well HMANA is happy to report that we are officially taking the Twitter plunge and we have a hawkwatcher to thank for helping us make it happen!

A message from hawk counter, Luke Tiller:
Sitting at the Quaker Ridge hawkwatch a few season’s ago, I had an idea of setting up a ‘live’ hawkwatch update service. The thought reoccurred to me after getting a call from a New Jersey watch south of us today and spurred me to discus implementing this idea through HMANA. I’m sure I’m not the only hawkwatcher to wonder how we could better be in touch with other counters across the country and to have the facility to access ‘live’ reporting of what is happening at other sites, whether it is big flights or interesting birds. Beyond collecting tens of phone numbers (and then spending important watching times to call those) I thought that a little modern technology might be able to help us accomplish that.
Twitter seems like the obvious tool for this sort of thing and discussing it with a few friends, my thought was that we could create a dedicated hawkwatch Twitter account that could be used by watchers to put out details of what they were seeing during the day. Lots of us now have smartphones or web access at our sites which would allow us to access this kind of information and the kind of reports one would want to send would fit perfectly into a short tweet format. E.g: CT, Quaker Ridge, 9/5, 12:15pm 1 Swainson’s Hawk (juvie dark morph) heading SW
This one account would mean there was a central location for people to read live reports of what other watches were seeing. Any legitimate counter (paid or volunteer) who wanted to participate would be given the username and password to the account so that they could post to it.

If you are interested in being able to post your sightings send an email to hmanahawkwatchne@gmail.com to get set up. You will be sent a password for the Twitter account username hmanahawkwatch and you’ll also get a posting protocol guide. If you only want to read the feed, just go ‘follow’ hamanahawkwatch on Twitter.

 We are in the process of testing this but hope to make the feed available on the HMANA Facebook page and website in the near future (for those Twitterless people). With big Broadie pushes just on the horizon it seems like the perfect time to kick this off!


Tuesday, September 4, 2012

August Wrap-up - Bring on September

September is now upon us, and every hawkwatcher hopes for top-notch results at his or her favorite spot. But just for today we’re going to take a last look at the August hawkwatching results to see how those ended up.

Despite poor weather throughout much of the east, several sites posted some good numbers in what was largely a lackluster month for most sites this year.

Rockfish Gap VA doubled its count hours this year and then posted high August numbers for several species. Perhaps best of all were 36 Bald Eagles, compared to the previous August record of 14. Other species also benefited from the increased time at the site, especially Osprey, American Kestrel and Sharp-shinned Hawk.

Corpus Christi TX came oh-so-close to breaking its August record for Mississippi Kites. They ended up with 20,064, just 800 off the 2007 August record of 20,833.

A hearty “welcome back” is due to Smith Point TX, which had been closed for a few years. They counted for several days in late August and ended up with nearly 6000 Mississippi Kites and 183 Broadwings.

Hawk Ridge MN counted 737 Broadwings in August, which is at least their highest total in the past 12 years.

Hawk Mountain Pa tallied 12 Merlin in August, the highest total since at least 1995. With 75 years of records to look through, I didn’t go back the whole way.

Waggoner’s Gap PA also set two August records, one for Broad-winged Hawks at 363, just inching past 1999’s August record of 359, and another for its 3 Merlin (previous high of 2 in August)

Hawk Cliff ON saw a lot more Broadwings and American kestrel than they usually do in August. They had a record 162 kestrels, boosted by a thoroughly impressive result of 112 on August 28. The next day, a total of 137 Broadwings helped to boost the month’s total of that species to 174, and that looks alike another high tally for August.

And now it’s on to September, and for all of us who spent time on an eastern ridge, let’s hope for some better weather to bring us some more hawks!