I went on my first-ever hawk watch yesterday on Jack's Mountain, a beautiful spot south of State College near Belleville. The only bad thing was that I didn't get to take any photos, thanks to the whole lost-camera-battery-charger thing. However, I did find the charger finally! It was in my bad-ass birding bag along with my binocs and my Stokes guide. Duh.
Sadly, I didn't have time to charge it up, so I'll share this photo that a fellow watcher took:
We saw almost 300 of these broadwing hawks in the time we were on the mountain! Local birder Chet Gottfried took this pic with his Pentax and humongoolous lens. I wish he'd sent a pic of the view from Jack's Mtn into Ferguson Valley, because it was breathtaking.
I went with a few people from the bird club, including my atlassing pal Roana. We got there a little after 10 in the morning and stayed until about 1 p.m. It was freaking HOT out there--about 90 degrees with high humidity. We saw a ton of broadwings, plus a couple of ospreys and sharpies. The view was spectacular, and aside from the indignity (not to mention the whole germy thing) of having to pee in the woods, it was a really great way to spend a Sunday!
Ron Singer, the official counter at the site, said that was the best day so far this year, though he was expecting even MORE today and tomorrow. Amazing. I'd only ever gotten a glimpse at a broadwing back at Cape May last fall with the Flock, so to study these guys as they soared and kettled on the thermals of Jack's Mountain was really a treat.