Living on top of a ridge in the Appalachians definitely has its advantages and disadvantages. While I do not have a stream running through the property or a nice lowland forest, the view provides an excellent opportunity for hawk watching. With good winds and decent weather today, I decided to watch for raptors over the yard. Within a few minutes, Broad-winged, Sharp-shinned, and Cooper’s Hawks were passing overhead! Over the course of an hour, I spotted several new year birds including Osprey and a gorgeous male Northern Harrier. Many of the birds were flying between the ridge I live on, Chestnut Ridge, and the larger Kittatinny Ridge which lies just to the south.
While scanning for hawks, I also picked out numerous swallows, Great Blue Herons, gulls, and loons moving north. Interestingly, the non-raptors headed directly north while almost all of the raptors tended to follow the ridge, heading in a northeasterly direction.
While not as spectacular as fall hawk migration, spring can be equally exciting and rarities are bound to show up! Be sure to get out to a spring hawk watch if you haven’t already. Who knows when a Mississippi Kite will soar past!