Dunnings Mountain Hawk Watch

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.

“Winter is lame!”
Gulping down a frozen worm

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.

Common Loon migrating past
Juvenile Bald Eagle
high-flying Golden Eagle
Sharp-shinned Hawks gliding by