October 18, 2012 —
Flocks of high flying geese can be heard and the first hard frost of the season is forecast for tonight as I write this column. Yesterday, on the 11th of October, was a clear day after a frontal passage with northwest to west winds at 10-15 mph, an ideal day to observe migrating hawks and falcons at Sunrise Mtn. in Stokes State Forest in NJ.
As the middle of migration season approaches, more varied raptor species can be seen as they migrate through the area. The September broad-winged hawks are no longer sighted, but species such as the Peregrine Falcon and the Northern Goshawk are making their way through our region. Even the occasional golden eagle can be observed. (A wintering golden eagle captured in our region during 2008 as part of a New York State Department of Environmental Conservation eagle study was tracked for the following three years migrating between our region and her nesting ground in Northern Labrador, 1,280 miles north of Narrowsburg, NY.)
Yesterday’s observing session yielded 10 different raptor species for a total of 105 falcons, hawks and eagles. Some of these long haul flyers are heading to warmer climes, but others will winter here, giving us many opportunities through the winter in spotting them.