Sunday, September 27, 2015

Blood Moon Tonight

I went out in the backyard to catch a glimpse of the lunar eclipse tonight. It was almost at its peak by 10:15pm. I can see why they call it the blood moon.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

A Day Of Broad-wing Heartbreak

 I've made a point of making a visit to at least one hawk watch each year but last year I was surprised when I was able to tally up a few hundred broad-winged Hawks passing over one of my local patches. I still have very little knowledge about the art of hawk-watching but I know that most of the Broad-winged Hawks pass through Connecticut during a 2 week periods starting about the 10th of September. I've learned also that your best chance of seeing large numbers Broad-wings would be on a day that there is a northerly/westerly component to the wind. 

Everything seemed to be set up perfectly on Monday. It was the right time, the wind direction was perfect, and I had the day of from work. I decided to pack a picnic lunch and spend the entire day watching hundreds of  Broad-wings forming kettles over my head before streaming along on their journey. I was all but sure that they would be coming. 
During the first half of the day I saw Bald Eagles, Northern Harriers, Sharp-shinned Hawks, and several Osprey, but only 4 Broad-winged Hawks. I was discouraged but still hopeful that they would come through in the afternoon. 
The clouds were fluffier after lunch which is good and the wind still coming from the northwest. After several hours of hawkless skies, I finally decided to call it a day. I don't know what the problem was. Maybe the wind was too strong or the recent surge in deflated footballs had an effect on the atmospheric pressure. Whatever the reason, it was disappointing. I did take note that things were slow at some of the other hawk-watching sites on that day as well so I'm not ready to give up on my local spot just yet. I plan to give it another shot this weekend. 

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Birding Before Breakfast:Birding Before Sunrise

  I find that getting up extra early in the morning to go birdwatching is a special experience.

There's something soothing about starting the day with a brightly lit moon set against a dark sky. The night air has scrubbed away the noise and air pollution. I can sense the start of a new day not yet spoiled by the frantic pace of a world at work. 
Just before sunrise twilight casts its golden glow across a lake.The  energy which surrounds me feels different. It seems we are constantly aware of time; the places we need to be and things we need to do but for that short period just before sunrise, time seems to stop. There's no place I need to be and nothing I need to do. 
 I usually have a big breakfast at a diner before I go birding but I decided to do it the other way around this weekend. I stopped for coffee at a little country store. It still has some of that antique charm from 1905 when it first opened. I was there just as hot blueberry scones were coming out of the oven. The perfect choice to go with my coffee.
There's a distinct clarity to the sound of a birds song and movements when set against a background of silence. It leads me to think that the sounds we don't hear can be as important as the sounds that we do hear. All that seems to matter is the air we breathe, the sounds we hear, and the birds we see.

Then all to soon, the spell is broken. Once again, there are places to be and things to do. It leaves me with one lingering question-Why?