Monday, September 24, 2012

It's Not Easy Finding A New Hawkwatch Site

I spent some time at a couple of the hawk watch sites in Connecticut again this year in hopes of seeing kettles of Broad-winged like the one shown in last year's photo taken at Booth Hill in West Hartland Connecticut. I made a visit there again and enjoyed seeing many of the same loyal hawk watchers.Some of them have been counting hawks since 1972. We saw a fair number of hawks totalling in the 100's but they weren't in close enough for a photo.
I also tried a place called a site called Johnnycake Mountain in Burlington for the first time. I was able to see quite a few Broad-wings there during my visit. From what I understand, this site may be developed soon and might no longer be available as a hawk watch site. Booth Hill and Johnnycake mountain are both in a country setting located at the edge of open fields with scenic views. I enjoy hawk-watching in a country setting even though the shoreline hawk watches are supposed to have larger numbers of hawks. I noticed that Johnnycake Mountain had a one day count of 1929 total raptors including 1892 broadwings on 9/20/12.

 I enjoy visiting the known hawk watching sites and picking up tips from the veterans but I'd also like to be able to find kettles of broad-wings near where I live. It's not easy though because you have to have the right weather, right flight days, and right viewing conditions. There's only roughly a two week  period to search out a suitable place and then you have to spend several hours at each place to test it out. One of the good things about searching out spots is you end up visiting places that have great views. The top of Great Hill has good elevation but the view isn't panoramic enough. It's a good place to find Black Vultures but I haven't had much luck finding broad-wings there.
I went up to the the orchards in Glastonbury where there are wide open views looking over toward Hartford. I saw a group of 3 Red-shouldered Hawks patrolling the area while there and did see some broadies pass through but only a few. I was encouraged to see that a kettle of 30 was reported just across the river in Rocky Hill so maybe this spot will have potential.  Great views though and you can shop for fresh fruit and homemade pies right at the bottom of the hill!
I saw a small kettles of  hawks passing over my yard one day so I decided to take a walk down to a local field which overlooks the Connecticut River valley. It was in the afternoon but I was pleased with the view and did have some nice sightings. 3 Bald Eagles soaring overhead, a kestrel doing it's hovering routine and 6 Broad-winged Hawks. Not much to talk about but it gave me a little encouragement. My location is a little too far east and south to get big numbers like they do in western Connecticut but if I'd be happy with anything over 100 broad-wings on a peak flight day. At least it looks like a mighty comfortable spot to give it a try!


Kathie Brown said...

Larry, what an adventurous guy you are! I love the new look of your blog. the pictures and print are so much easier to see! Your photos look wonderful! Did you get a new camera? Good luck with the hawk watching!

Larry said...

Hi-Thanks-same camera-just a bigger sized photos on blog. I'm thinking about upgrading to an fz-200 next year from the panasonic fz-35 I have now.