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As always, a beautiful view

This past Sunday, 19 people trekked up to the top of Buck Mountain in Waltham in the hopes of finding migrating hawks. With temps in the 80s, it was a warm day for a hike, but enjoyable nonetheless. On our way up, the birds were mostly quite but for some Blue Jays and Eastern Wood-pewees, but we entertained ourselves with finding amphibians like Eastern Newts, Red-backed Salamanders and American Toads, and identifying trees.

A side trip to a beaver pond yielded our first hawk of the day, a Red-tailed Hawk perched atop a dead tree. A Common Yellowthroat was also spotted making use of the wetland. Our best non-raptor sighting of the day came very near the summit where he came across a juvenile Bay-breasted Warbler, and a female Chestnut-sided Warbler both in their cryptic fall colors.

But of course this was a hawk watch, and as the conditions were good for migration, we did indeed see hawks. Though they weren’t moving in any great numbers while we were observing, we did get a good representation of species. Broad-winged Hawks, a Sharp-shinned Hawk, American Kestrels, a Bald Eagle and an Osprey were all seen riding thermals and traveling south. Local Turkey Vultures and a pair of Red-tailed Hawks engaged in an aerial spat kept us entertained as well. The big prize of the day, however, was a Red-shouldered Hawk—a species that usually migrates later in the year—passing before us right below the cliff face.

Click here for a full list of the birds we saw.

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