This past Sunday Otter Creek Audubon held our annual hawk watch at Buck Mountain in Waltham. As always scheduling this event is a bit of a gamble because we can never predict the weather far enough in the future to know whether or not the conditions will be good. Last year for example we were rained out. But this year lucked into a sunny and warm day with light winds, almost perfect for hawk migration, and when we reached the overlook, we immediately saw hawks.

We never did get a classic “kettle” filled with dozens of thermal riding migrants, but we did get a good variety of species. Broad-winged Hawks made up the bulk of our sightings as expected, but we also had one each of Northern Harrier, Sharp-shinned Hawk, Cooper’s Hawk and Bald Eagle. A couple or Red-tailed Hawks made an appearance too, and of course we had the resident Turkey Vultures and Ravens too, many of whom made close passes near the overlook. The real star of the outing though was a Golden Eagle that passed us at eye level with its golden head and mantle shining in the bright sun. We are in a migratory flyway for a limited population of these birds from Northeastern Canada which means it is possible to see them here, but it’s always an event when you do.

Click here for a full checklist of all the birds we saw.

– Ron Payne