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Saturday, September 19, 2020

Broad-winged Hawk mega migration in New England!

The motherload of Broad-winged Hawks passed over the hawkwatch sites in NH and MA yesterday with Pack Monadnock Raptor Migration Observatory, NH, reporting 2,886 Broadwings (out of 3,000 total raptors), Mt. Watatic, MA, reporting 2,988 (out of 3,078 total raptors) and Mt. Wachusett, MA ,reporting 3,898 (out of 3,964 total raptors). Counting was aided by some highly experienced spotters at these sites as large "kettles" rose up then peeled off overhead especially during the afternoon hours. These Broadwings are on their way to hawkwatch sites south of here and eventually past places like megasite Corpus Christi HawkWatch, TX, where 23,451 raptors were seen yesterday. The Broadwings will winter in Central and South America then return in the spring. There are still favorable winds this weekend for more migration, but after that most of the Broadwings will be gone and it's onto migrating falcons, accipiters and eagles. To track the migration visit (photos from other times)


Friday, September 18, 2020

Prime Time Broad-winged Hawk Migration Now!!

Broad-winged Hawks in New England did migrate yesterday finding lift mainly for a few hours in the afternoon. Pack Monadnock Raptor Migration Observatory, NH, saw 2,269 raptors, 2,195 of them Broadwings after 2 pm. The other New England hawk sites south of Pack missed that big number. Mt. Watatic , MA, saw 414 raptors, 378 of them Broadwings just about the same time Pack was getting their big numbers. Mt. Wachusett, MA, saw 33 raptors, 22 of them Broadwings. Meanwhile over in VT, Putney Mt. hawkwatch had 1,308 raptors, 1,270 of them Broadwings. The biggest migrations were seen yesterday at the mega sites, Corpus Christi HawkWatch, TX, 36,515 raptors, Hawk Ridge, Duluth, MN, 12,049 raptors and Holiday Beach Hawk Watch, ON, 17,372 raptors. There are still a few more days left in the prime time window for Broadwing migration and now through the weekend, which has clearing and northerly winds, should be good. All of these numbers can be seen at the amazing website, you can follow the numbers there and hopefully get out and see some raptors yourself.

Monday, September 14, 2020

Go Hawkwatching Now Is The Time!

Go hawkwatching! If you are a birder in the Northeast the next several days, Tues. to Sun. will see a major push of migrating Broad-winged Hawks out of New England. Tues., Sat. and Sun. maybe look especially good with favorable northwest or north winds, the kind of winds Broadwings like to move on. To find a hawkwatch near you go to the awesome website where daily results from all the major hawkwatch sites are posted and there are directions to the hawkwatch sites. Be aware that some sites are limiting visitations and may have other social distancing restrictions during this pandemic. Happy watching!

Saturday, September 12, 2020

Broad-winged Hawk Migration has started!!


Here we go, hawk migration has started!! There was a big push of Broad-winged Hawks in NH yesterday and peak migration time for these raptors here is Sept. 12-25 with historically especially big flights several days on either side of the 15th. Big numbers have been seen on northeast and northwest winds so watch the weather and get out and look!! (My composite photo from our Stokes Pocket Guide to Birds of North America)

Thursday, September 10, 2020

Clueless young Red-tailed Hawk


It's the time of year for birds to molt and young birds to learn the ropes. This Pine Warbler is hunting in our lawn, Eastern Phoebe is hunting from a post and this young Red-tailed Hawk dwarfs its bird house perch, while it figures out how to catch voles.

Tuesday, September 08, 2020

Buff-breasted Sandpiper migration

 While we wait for the big hawk migration push, don't forget to look (observing socially distancing) for the many migrating shorebirds now, some common, some rare, like this Buff-breasted Sandpiper I photographed on the NH coast in 2011. This is a juvenile bird, told by the whitish margins of the back and wing feathers and paler underparts than the adult.

An Arctic breeder, it usually migrates through the interior of the country and can be found during migration in plowed fields, upper beaches, margins of wetlands and short-grass habitats. Birds found outside the main migration route are often juveniles.

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Red Crossbills

The big news is that there is a Red Crossbill influx in NH and other areas this year. Saw a flock of 15 Red Crossbills yesterday at the Harris Center for Conservation Education in NH. They were picking up grit in the parking lot. Cone specialists, they can breed at any time but usually breed late summer into autumn or late winter into early spring. This species is complex and different populations or "types" have different flight calls and bill shapes. Identification as to type requires a recording of flight calls. There may be 10 North American types and this is still being studied. Very cool to see them. We have recorded them and sent recordings to Cornell for identification as to type. The Harris Center birds seem to be type 10, who come all the way from the Pacific Northwest!

Red Crossbill