Big Day attempt and final day of the hawk watch

Today was a sad day in some respects. My last day at the hawk watch and last day with all the wonderful people that came up to help me scan the skies for the migrating raptors. I ended the season with 2,966 raptors, just shy of the more impressive looking 3,000 mark that I was hoping for. Still, due to strong flights by several species, it was a respectable and very enjoyable season. I also managed to rack up a total of 124 species seen from the watch, including 20 warbler species, 6 swallow species, 5 thrush spp. and 4 vireo spp.

The exciting thing is that in approximately 5 hours from now, my fiance and I are going to do what I am dubbing a “Medium Day”. It is in the spirit of a big day and we will certainly try to see and hear as many birds as possible. But, we will also be trying to get good looks at quite a few species that she has never seen and so our pace will be somewhat slowed by that. I am still hoping for around 100 species of birds seen in the maybe 15 hours that we will spend out in the field. Wish us luck as we bird n. New Jersey in hot pursuit of 20-30 warbler species and as many other things as we can get our eyes and ears onto!

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The Watch is about to begin, what’s up with this weather

Tomorrow marks day one of the Montclair Spring Hawk Watch, weather permitting. After reaching about 75°F today the thunderclouds are rolling in and we might get a good storm tonight. Thats all good but what about this…snow on Friday? That could make things really interesting. Well, hopefully I will have some reports soon and some pictures to go along with it.

I went to the Montclair Bird Club tonight and was treated to a great slide show of western Montana, one of my favorite places that I’ve been. I would recommend it to anybody. My best experience in Montana was driving on backroads. One day my fiancee and I were meandering along and approached some roadkill that a Black-billed Magpie was feeding on. I was already slowing down to get a better look when I noticed some thing large swoop out of the sky to my right. I slammed on the brakes and watched in awe as an immature Golden Eagle swooped down and plucked the roadkill off the road, much to the chagrin of the magpie.

Montclair Hawkwatch

This weekend I will be moving to NJ Audubon’s Weis Ecology Center to start as the counter for the Montclair Hawkwatch. I suppose I will be giving updates on the flights and the progression of spring as I watch it come northward everyday for the next two months. I am excited about being outside for 2 straight months in the spring after spending the entire fall outside at Hawk Mountain Sanctuary. There is something special about being able to see the different waves of migration and leaf out as it happens and not miss any of it.