Thursday, November 14, 2013

10 good reasons to join us for the HMANA Raptor ID Workshop at Braddock Bay

Red-shouldered Hawk - LukeTiller
HMANA Raptor ID Workshop at Braddock Bay, near Rochester, NY - April 6-12 2014

1/ You get to hone your raptor identification skills in a small group led by Frank Nicoletti, probably one of the most accomplished hawkwatchers anywhere on the planet.

2/ Early April is prime time at Braddock Bay to see the highest diversity of raptors in terms of species: with potential to see seventeen species of eagles, hawks, falcons and vultures. Perhaps almost as importantly the tours timing will also provide the greatest opportunity to grapple with aging, sexing and, where possible, even identifying birds to subspecies.

Merlin - Luke Tiller
3/ Tour timing is perfect to see some big movements of raptors as it falls squarely within the time period that often sees the kind of flight that produces one thousand Red-tailed Hawks, a four figure tree top flight of Sharp-shinned Hawks or more than five thousand Turkey Vultures. How does a day like this spent in one of the countries most knowledgeable raptor experts company take your fancy? Or maybe one like this or this? You can read about a past big day at Braddock Bay Hawkwatch that happened during the same time period on my blog (here).

4/ Between our base camp at Braddock Bay and a day trip or two, it will be great timing to see good numbers of some of North Americas most desirable raptor species such as Golden Eagle, Rough-legged Hawk and Northern Goshawk as well as other potentially locally interesting species such as Black Vulture and Swainson’s Hawk.

Common Redpoll - Luke Tiller
5/ In among the flying raptors there will be other great migratory birding to experience. All of this will allow us to hone our visible migration skills as well as our knowledge of flight calls. How do you separate a Snow Bunting from a Lapland Longspur? A flock of American Pipits from a flock of Horned Larks? The buzz of Pine Siskins from either goldfinch or redpoll? All of this is becoming part of being a well rounded hawkwatcher, and this HMANA Workshop will help you explore and develop these set of skills.

6/ The workshop will also guarantee you a week in the company of both fun and like minded people: what could be more entertaining than kicking back at a couple of the US’s finest spring raptor migration sites with a group of newly acquired friends?

Braddock Bay Hawkwatch - Luke Tiller
7/ As well as years of general experience, both tour leaders have counted at Braddock Bay specifically, so they know where and when to go in the area in order to ensure participants get the most out of the migratory experience and perhaps almost importantly the best places to go grab some fine BBQ and a great beer afterwards!

8/ Get excitingly up close and personal experience with raptors and other birds as we visit the hawk, owl and songbird banding projects that are undertaken in the area. These in hand views of raptors can be invaluable learning experiences.

Dark Rough-legged Hawk - BBRR
9/ Know that your participation will help support the conservation and research work that HMANA undertakes, help provide the resources they provide to counts across the country, as well as assist the important work undertaken by local non-profit organizations like BBRR that are funding the rapotor projects around the country which we all love so much.

10/ All this and you don’t even have to count one bird that is flying past you; well unless you really, really want to.

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