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Monday, September 15, 2008

Perfect Storm - for hawks?

Tomorrow could be the 'perfect storm' (perfect weather conditions) for hawkwatching if you live in New England. Today, with strong (possible gusts over 40 mph) west/southwest winds is not. Tomorrow the forecast is for northeast winds at 5 mph. The temps are dropping into the 40's tonight and the 68 degree sun tomorrow will warm the cool ground and produce rising thermals of warm air —just the elevators the Broad-winged Hawks use for migration. Broadwings spread their broad wings, ride up on the thermals, then glide to the next thermal. Above is a photo of what a group (called a "kettle") of Broadwings look like while rising up on a thermal. This is what it looks like through your binoculars, and yes they are rather small and high up. This is the search image you want when scanning the skies for migrating Broad-winged Hawks.

Pack Monadnock Raptor Migration Observatory in southern NH, where we go to hawkwatch.

Don scanning for hawks. Tip — focus your binoculars on a far distant horizon because the hawks are at a distance, tuck your elbows in to help support your binos and slooowly and systematically, scan back and forth across the sky.

Julie, the official hawk counter, who keeps the records for Pack Monadnock. The records go into the Hawk Migration Association of North America.
So tomorrow take your binos and look up for hawks, even if you're on a lunch break.

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