Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Doesn't Anyone Care If Hawks Return In Spring?

    The Fall hawk migration has been well publicized in Connecticut. There are many opportunities to visit local hawkwatch sites each year. I was curious as to why you don't hear much about spring hawk watches?

  I asked a local hawk watch organizer (Paul Carrier) if he knew of a good spot to look for migrating hawks in the Spring. He suggested Penwood  Park in Bloomfield CT. Mid-April should be the most productive time to visit but I wanted to familiarize myself with the area so I made a vist there this weekend. I took the blue-blazed Metacomet Trail to the pinnacle. The view from the top was beautiful!
As I looked to my left, there was a view of the Heublein Tower on Talcott Ridge. Over the years, this tower has been visited by some famous people including Dwight D. Eisenhower and Ronald Reagan.

It was originally built as a Summer retreat for Gilbert Heublein. He was in the hotel, restaurant, and food industry but may have been most known as a liquor manufacturer. The tower is open to the public from Memorial Day to Labor Day and the rumour about the tower being filled to the top with booze during the winter months is simply not true.
I had a nice view of what appears to be a young Bald Eagle.
There were a few birds taking advantage of the updrafts including a couple of red-tails, some Turkey Vultures, and a Common Raven. A carpie passed through (not sure if it was a cooper's or a sharpie) and I could hear a pair of Red-shouldered Hawks in the woods calling-keeyer- keeyer- keeyer (or something like that).
The trail was surprisingly quiet on the way up. The parking lot was full but I only encountered a couple of hikers on the trail.
I don't know why people make rock piles in the woods but they are sort of interesting to look at.
This pretty little pond was also along the trail. It's so secluded that even the ducks seem to have a hard time finding it.
I took a park road on the way down instead of the trail. I found a flock of about 30 Cedar Waxwings. I come across them fairly often but never get tired of watching them, especially when they're eating berries.
They were in a frenzy trying to devour the berries on this bush!- (does anyone know what kind of berry bush it is?). The waxwings stayed in the same area for at while. People who passed by me were curious as to what I was pointing my camera at and were impressed by the waxwings when I pointed them out. 

 This is a good park to visit during spring migration. I've never hiked up to the overlook before but a few years ago I saw a Kentucky Warbler here. They can be difficult to find in Connecticut.
click to play
 I intend to visit Penwood Park at least a couple of times in April. I'll look for incoming broad-wings and whatever else the wind might carry in. Past records indicate there is the potential to see several hundred hawks pass by here but even if I only see a few it should be a nice way to enjoy as Spring Day.

Have you ever tried hawkwatching in Spring?

*Note: If you live in Connecticut there is a 1990  book by Gene Billings titled:
"Birds of Prey in Connecticut Guide to Finding and Understanding Hawks, Eagles, Vultures and Owls" It is available through the library system or there are used copies on Amazon. It's probably a little outdated but I found some of it interesting.


Kathie Brown said...

Larry, you are both ambitious and humorous! What a fun post. I like the rock sculptures as well! I hope you see your hawks!

Larry said...

Kathie-Thanks-I wonder if thos rock sculptures have any meaning?

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