This past Sunday, a remarkable 68 people came out to the joint Green Mountain and Otter Creek Audubon annual Hawk Watch trip to to Buck Mt. in Waltham. Most of us met together at the Park & Ride off Rt. 7 in Vergennes and carpooled down to the limited parking area on Rt. 66 in Waltham. From there, led by myself and Warren King from OCAS and Bruce MacPherson from GMAS, we took a 1-hour hike up to a summit, pausing on the way to look at the local flora and fauna, eventually reaching the top and being rewarded with one of the best views in the state which opens up on farm fields, lake Champlain and the Adirondacks to the West.

Unfortunately we didn’t manage to find too many migrating raptors. Perhaps the wind was too strong, sheering apart the thermals, and perhaps it had too much of a western component that would send the Hawks in a direction they wouldn’t like to go. In the end we saw just four Bald Eagles, two Broad-winged Hawks, two American Kestrels, one of which was viewed through a scope perched on a fence post in a field below us, and the highlight bird of the day, an Osprey which blasted past us at eye-level going about 50 mph. Other neat sightings were a couple of Common Ravens, one of which did back-flips above our heads, a passing flock of migrating Tree Swallows and a family of Turkeys, again seen down in the fields below us.

At the end of the day everyone made it down OK and the consensus was that it was a very fun outing despite the lack of birds. And the wonderful thing about an annual event is that we get to try again next year to find a great hawk movement, and if you didn’t make it out this year, you will have a chance to join us too.

All out bird sightings have been submitted to eBird and you can view them online here:
http://ebird.org/ebird/vt/view/checklist?subID=S15126910

– Ron Payne

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