Northern Harrier from http://www.allaboutbirds.org/
Sharp-shinned Hawk photo by Darlene Knox
Osprey photo by Bob Stanowski
photo by Darlene Knox
photo from http://www.njwildlifetrails.org/
The White Memorial hawk watch started its 2011 season on September 16th with a good showing of birds. The weather for much of the month prior to this was too lousy for hawk migration to occur. By contrast, the weather on the 16th was sunny, very cool, and with a steady 20 - 30 m.p.h. wind from the northwest. These conditions were optimal for hawk migration along the coast, as many birds were blown that far. I saw reports from Lighthouse Pt. in New Haven of 3,000 hawks and from Greenwich Audubon Center of 6,000 hawks that day. Inland sites, like White Memorial did o.k., but the results were not nearly as impressive as those from coastal sites. We counted a total of 259 hawks passing over the Museum Area between 10:15 a.m. and 5:15 p.m. The vast majority of these (255) were Broad-winged Hawks. The biggest kettle (or group) of Broad-wings consisted of 40 birds circling around overhead at one time. We also saw 1 Osprey, 2 Bald Eagles, and 1 Sharp-shinned Hawk. The next day, 9/17, was our "official" hawk watch day for the public. About 20 people attended at various times between 10:15 a.m. and 5:15 p.m. and were rewarded with a total of 107 hawks passing overhead. Of these, 93 were Broad-winged Hawks, including 50 in one kettle. We also saw 2 Black Vultures, 1 Osprey, 3 Bald Eagles, 3 Sharp-shinned Hawks, 2 Cooper's Hawks, and 3 Red-shouldered Hawks. No one manned our hawk watch site on Sunday, 9/18, but judging from observations from other places, we didn't miss much. Winds were coming from out of the south, and hawks weren't moving. The next day, 9/19, the winds shifted around to the west, and a few hawks started moving in the afternoon. Between 2 and 5:15 p.m. we counted a total of 16 hawks passing over the Museum Area. These consisted of 2 Black Vultures, 1 Northern Harrier, 5 Sharp-shinned Hawks, 2 Cooper's Hawks, 1 Red-shouldered Hawk, and 5 Broad-winged Hawks. The weather since this day has been too lousy for hawk migration to occur.