This year’s Buck Mountain hawk watch took place on a day in which the weather seemed perfect in every respect except one. While it was sunny and there were high clouds which aid in spotting hawks, there was also a noticeable South Wind, and in the opinion of Ron Payne, the leader of the walk, and author of this article, that meant we weren’t going to see many hawks at all. Fortunately, when at the Ferrisburgh Park & Ride, the pre-event meeting place, he was immediately proven wrong when 27 Broad-winged Hawks, a Bald Eagle and an Osprey being harassed by a Cooper’s Hawk went overhead using some very effective thermals.

With that cheery information in hand, we carpooled over to the Buck Mountain trail-head, meeting some other people there and started our hike up to the overlook. On our way up, as usual we admired the rich woods of the mountain and pointed out interesting things along the way. Of note this year was a tree covered in a recent hatch of flying ants, and a Butternut tree that had dropped a large number of nuts alongside the trail.

At the overlook, we were indeed treated to a very good Broad-winged Hawk showing. Several “kettes,” hawks rising up on thermals together like bubbles rising in a boiling pot, were seen, including one that formed right above us. Most of the Broad wings we saw, though were already streaming off kettles that had formed somewhere out of sight to the northwest of us. Other hawks seen were a Sharp-shinned Hawk, a non-migrating Red-tailed Hawk and a probable Kestrel. In total we had 69 Broad-wings in the hour and a half we spent on top of the mountain making this one of our more successful hawk watch events.

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