This past Sunday OCAS and Green Mountain Audubon held our annual hawk watch outing to Buck Mountain in Waltham. The weather seemed almost ideal, and while we gathered at the Ferrisburgh park & ride to organize carpools to the mountain, we had a good harbinger of things to come when an Ospery was seen climbing on a thermal.

After driving over to the mountain and hiking up to the overlook, we were immediately rewarded with not just one of the best views in the Champlain Valley, but also a very close overflight by two Juvenile Broad-wined Hawks. However, with the wind turning around to the south, a large migratory push was not in the offing for the day, but we did see a good representative group of species. Migrating raptors we saw included 3 Osprey, 1 Sharp-shinned Hawk, 2 Bald Eagle, 1 American Kestral and 6 total Broad-winged Hawks. Other non-migrant raptors observed Included Red-tailed Hawks, Turkey Vultures and a juvenile Peregrine Falcon.

A migrant of a completely different nature that we were pleased to see were four Monarch Butterflies beginning their trip down to their wintering grounds in Mexico. And another fun sighting had at the end our are day back at the head of the trail was a male Scarlet Tanager in non-breeding plumage. So despite the lack of any large kettles of hawks, it was a very worth-while and entertaining outing.

A full list of the birds we saw can be seen on eBird.

– Ron Payne