Monday, August 19, 2013

Fall hawkwatching season already heating up!

The first hawkwatches are already counting and reporting data to HawkCount.  Even though few have been open for longer than a week, some interesting results are already showing up.

At two Pennsylvania sites, Hawk Mountain and Waggoner’s Gap, each has posted a record early date for the first merlin sighting.  The first merlin was seen at Waggoner’s on August 5 and at Hawk Mountain on August 15.  Waggoner’s also posted a record early Peregrine Falcon sighting on August 4.  Not to be outdone, Corpus Christi in Texas posted its first Peregrine sighting on its first official count day on August 10.  The site’s first merlin sighting came the next day on August 11.

August 17 was Corpus’ first four-digit day of the fledgling raptor season. They tallied 2802 Mississippi Kites.  August 16 wasn’t bad for the kites either, with 550 counted.

The new season has barely started and already it’s giving us something to talk about!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Calling all dragonfly enthusiasts!

HMANA has some exciting news about a fun new research opportunity and we’d like to invite you to take part. Starting this year, HMANA is partnering with the Migratory Dragonfly Partnership to assist in the better understanding of dragonfly migration. 

The Migratory Dragonfly Partnership (MDP) is a pioneering citizen science-based study of dragonfly migration in North America that was launched by US Forest Service International Programs and is chaired and coordinated by the Xerces Society, a nonprofit organization that protects wildlife through the conservation of invertebrates and their habitat.  Regular monitoring and centralized reporting among participants across the US, Canada and Mexico will help to answer some of the many questions currently surrounding dragonfly migration and provide information needed to create cross-border conservation programs to protect and sustain the phenomenon.

Where do you come in? Well, what better way to monitor dragonflies than from a local hawkwatch!  Migrating dragonflies are often seen along routes used by migrating birds and hawk watchers are ideally situated to observe dragonfly migration. A lot of us are up there all day, every day throughout the migration season, so why not?

Whether you are a casual hawkwatcher on weekends or a full-time counter, you can participate in this important citizen-science project.  How much you’d like to be involved is up to you.  A hawkwatch may designate a special counter just for dragonflies or use current hawkwatchers to collect the data. Either can work! Counts are timed for as many minutes as you can cover, one, five, ten, for each hour or whenever you can. Estimates of migrant numbers are also accepted (e.g., 500 plus, less than 10, etc.) You may find you don’t have time for dragonfly watching at all which is fine, too.

Check out the downloadable data collection protocol and datasheet available at If you are associated with a particular hawkwatch, please contact me at so we can sign you up.  Please try to respond by August 15, 2013.  We will need to add some data fields to your online HawkCount data entry form.  If you would like to participate on your own, go right ahead. Data sheets should be sent to Xerces Society at the end of the migration season.

For information on the five dragonfly species MDP is tracking and how to identify them in flight go to