OCT 13

Dia de Halcón, the Day of the Falcon

October 10th has become a red letter day on my annual calendar each year. The “Day of the Falcon” or “Dia de Halcón” en Espanõl has become my own personal, special little holiday. I’m not certain if anyone else holds this day dear in their heart, or even recognizes it as anything special, but for me it is. No matter where in the world I am on that day. I’ll note that date and think, “oh man… today’s the day!” Over the past decade, 10/10 has emerged statistically, as the single best day for Peregrine Falcon sightings through the Florida Keys. Since the year 2000, a…

Magic over the Islands

Each fall season for the past few years, hawk counters at the Florida Keys Hawkwatch have broken their own world record for the most Peregrine Falcons tallied at a single migration monitoring site in a season. Recent Peregrine Falcons totals @ FKH 2012 – 3,836 Peregrine Falcons tallied 2013 – 4,010 Peregrine Falcons tallied 2014 – 4,216 Peregrine Falcons tallied 2015 – ???? As of October 7th, 2015, however the FKH count had lagged FAR behind recent years’ totals with only 948 Peregrines tallied (nearly 2,000 behind previous years total by the same date 10/7). I spoke with Rafael Galvez, Director of FKH, artist/author/guide…

Pounding Hearts and Beating Wings: Cape May Migration Madness

Cool morning temperatures and crisp organic scents saturate the forest floor while lush blankets of red, yellow and gold adorn the treetops; autumn has fallen across North America. The chaos and excitement of breeding season is over. Young birds are learning the ins and outs of functioning on their own while their parents adjust to being empty nesters once again. The days grow shorter and the air crisper while migratory birds scramble to fill their fat reserves in preparation for their long journeys ahead. The first of many cold fronts to come passes over, creating favorable winds and triggering ancient…

Migration Magic in the Land of Milk and Honey-buzzards

May 3, 2015. I stand at my station in the Eilat Mountains, overlooking the Gulf of Aqaba, at the north end of the Red Sea. Stretching away to southwest, the mountains of Israel seamlessly give way to the mountains of Egypt, the boundary only recognizable thanks to the hand of man: the large, re-enforced border fence, interlaced with jagged barbed wire, threatening any foolish soul who would approach from either side. To the east, across the Gulf, loom the red mountains of Jordan’s Edom Range. South of these, through the morning haze that often hangs over the sea, we can…

Feathers Over Freeport

Now in its 9th year (see previous post LINK), the Bradbury Mountain Spring Hawkwatch in Pownal, Maine attracts an average of over 1200 visitors annually. Furthermore, many times that number visit the summit throughout our two month season and briefly chat with the Official Counter or read our count board and display. Of those 1200+ folks, many have never heard of, or at least never visited, a “hawkwatch” before, as the culture of hawkwatching in Northern New England isn’t as ingrained in the birding culture or as widespread as in such places as Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. For my…

Bradbury Mountain Spring Hawkwatching!

Here in New England, it sure hasn’t felt much like spring. But the sun is getting higher, the days are getting longer, and finally, those snowbanks are being reduced – if ever so slowly. And believe it or not, birds are on the move. In fact, hawkwatching season is here! Freeport Wild Bird Supply will once again be partnering with Leica Sport Optics to sponsor the Spring Hawkwatch at Bradbury Mountain State Park in Pownal, beginning on March 15th. 2015 marks the ninth consecutive season for this project through which valuable data is collected while providing an enjoyable and educational…