Saturday, March 20, 2010

Hawk Watch

Mabel and I have been manning the hawkwatch since the 5th March and so far only 1 day off! The weather has been great, especially the last several days. The lake was fully open by the 11th, a very early date, although not a record. Some years this doesn't happen until early April.

Despite the fields here being largely free of snow by the 8th, deep snow still lay on the ground to the south, keeping all but a few small flocks of geese back until late on the 15th, when over 75,000 arrived between 4.30 and 5.00 p.m., a spectacular sight. All early migrants, e.g., Red-winged blackbirds, Ring-billed gulls, Killdeer, etc. were similarly held back. Over the last 3 days we have seen a terrific run of eagles, 38 in all, with a couple of Goldens staying around to hunt. On the 18th we had 20 eagles,, a new one-day high, by one. (So far, we have recorded 44 eagles in total). At one point we had 7 Golden Eagles in one kettle! We have also seen over 50 hawks. With the change back to the more normal, cooler conditions over the next few days the migration will undoubtedly slow down for a while. Still, we should still see from 1-3 eagles almost everyday for the next couple of weeks.

Yesterday, we had flocks of Robins moving by, not really surprising considering the weather. They are known to follow at 10C thermocline. The local pair of Ravens and the local pair of Peregrines have been around for a couple of weeks and we see them just about every day. There has even been the occasionally "menage a trois" battle from time to time! Quite interesting to watch. Yesterday, we also saw three Redtails interacting, with two actually locking talons and spiralling down, just as Bald Eagles do when courting.

Well, must dash, the hawkwatch calls. Cheers, B. Barnhurst

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