Yesterday morning, I looked out the window and saw this American Robin sitting on the porch as a few snow flurries fell. For awhile, he didn’t move, and as I was planning a frozen bird rescue, the sun came out and he started moving. I watched from inside our warm cozy house, feeling rather guilty as I sipped my hot tea, when the weatherman was telling me it was about 20 degrees out. If this bird could sit there and eat frozen worms for breakfast, I think I could suck it up, put some layers on, and go hawk watching.
It actually wasn’t that cold out. If you wear the right clothes, 28 degrees doesn’t really feel that awful at all. With the sun out, I actually felt a little warmth, as I joined Cory Ritter, Francesca Mossaroto, and Matt Landever at Dunnings Mountain Hawk Watch in Bedford County. The majority of the flight consisted of high flying accipters, with a noticeable push of Sharp-shinned Hawks, according to Cory and Francesca, who have been hawk watching on Pennsylvanias ridge tops for over a month already. Highlights were both species of eagles, an American Kestrel, a number of Red-tailed Hawks, and a few Northern Harriers (be sure to read this cationary post by Jerry Liguori about aging juvenile and female Norther Harriers in the spring) Common Loons were also abundant, with a few flying close and calling. Spring counts are much different than fall counts. Birds look and behave differently, and even though you can follow a raptor timetables as a guide, it seems as though you can see just about anything and everything in one day. My hawk watching skills were a little rough after a winter with a lack of accipiters, but I am looking forward to getting a copy of “Hawks at a Distance” by Jerry Liguori.