Thursday, September 16, 2010

Hawk Watching Barre Falls-Thu. Sept 16th, 2010

Day number two of hawkwatching today and did it at Barre Falls again. While we wouldn't get nearly the amount of Broad-winged Hawks as we did yesterday, the weather was gorgeous and we had great company so while it was a little slow first thing in the morning, it was just fabulous to be out enjoying the warm weather, conversation and anticipation of what was yet to come.
And the first thing that would come would be the accipiters and the smallest of the clan the Sharp-shinned Hawks. We would have one that would be fairly close as it descended from the sky with talons down getting ready to make an attempt at breakfast in a nearby tree. Passerines all started to dash out of various trees in a panic and the sharpie would fly away frustrated as the birds were too quick for it including the very vocal Northern Flicker much to my relief as the bird is always flying around and makes good binocular practice when it gets a little slow so I didn't want him to become a snack. Very cool to see as I have never seen a sharpie raise its talons like that before attempting a kill so it would be something new I would see today.
After a while we would see one lone Cooper's Hawk nearby and to the left of that would be two Sharp-shinned Hawks (above), who were soaring together but would take turns dive bombing one another which was very entertaining to observe. Not sure if they are siblings and just having a little fun or arch enemies, but both left un scathed by the ordeal. Funny how the smallest birds in the raptor family are usually the most daring as it reminded me of the Merlin's yesterday.

Susan joined us today and she would be the one to spot the first kettle of about 10 or so Broad-winged Hawks. They would be seen roughly the same time as yesterday (a little after 10 or so I think), so we were hoping to have a repeat of yesterday but we wouldn't be that fortunate so I am hoping some of the other local hawk watch sites like Mount Watatic and Pack Monadnock got them all instead.
One of the birds all of us have wanted to see were some Osprey due to the fact they have been close to null lately. We have Bill from Mount Wachusett hawk watching with us this week because Mount Wachusett is closed obviously and his super sharp eyes would spot a bird which he wanted to make an Osprey to break our dry spell and sure enough it was! I would run for my camera and hope for at least a couple of decent pictures today and sure enough I would get some as the Osprey soared around before hitting the river and when it came back up it would have lunch (fillet of fish it seems) in its talons which you can see in the photo above.
The Osprey would finally make its way directly above us which allowed for some killer looks as well as a couple of half way decent pictures vs. all of the specs and dots I usually get while hawkwatching.
I am going to inundate you with pictures here but I couldn't make up my mind which ones I wanted to post so I posted them all. :-p
Love this photo as it shows the crooked wings on the Osprey which I always enjoy seeing.
And then this photo that is somewhat redundant but check out whats on the right of it. It actually looks like a bird to me, but not sure. Anyone brave enough to identify exactly what it is?? ;-)
A photo of contrails which was picture worthy to me because we didn't see any lately. Hawk watching brings out a lot of other secondary interests in folks because there are times when bird activity is slow so you look for things like pretty clouds, planes, blimps, Venus (which I saw for the first time yesterday in broad daylight) and contrails to give you something to practice your eyes on while you are waiting for the next wave or raptors to grace you with the presence.

It would be a little while after this that we would get a Northern Harrier which would tease us a glimpse of it just enough to identify but then it would be below the tree line for an afternoon snack. About 40 minutes or so later it would re appear from below and allow us some really good looks but not good enough for a photo.
We wouldn't get the nice closeups of the American Kestrels today but did have one or two that came close enough for a photo.
And then a last picture of a Sharpie which were very frequent today it seems.

Won't be hawk watching tomorrow as it appears the bad weather isn't going to clear until later in the day tomorrow so hoping for better luck on Saturday.

Take care all.


Larry said...

Sounds like a good time hawk watching. As for the bird in the lower part of the Osprey photo I would guess some type of passerine with its wings in the closed position as it flew by. As for species...thats a tough one.

Rich said...

Beautiful birds.


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