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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.


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 Read the rest of this entry »

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 Read the rest of this entry »

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. Read the rest of this entry »

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 Read the rest of this entry »

Scanning the sky for hawks from the summit of Buck Mountain

On Sunday, September 16,  Warren King and Ron Payne from Otter Creek Audubon and Bruce MacPhearson from Green Mountain Audubon led 24 participants on our annual joint hawk watch trip to Buck Mountain in Waltham. While humans may judged this sunny and mild day as ideal, in the eyes of migrating hawks trying to ride thermals from Canada to South America, the conditions were seen as less than perfect. Perhaps the wind direction was wrong, too strong, or the thermals just weren’t developing well, but for whatever Read the rest of this entry »

Gary Starr at the overlook.

On Septemer 17, twenty-five people led by Bruce McPherson and Ron Payne set out on a joint trip between Green Mountain and Otter Creek Audubon to view migrating Hawks from Buck Mountain in Waltham yesterday. In previous years this trip had been fairly disappointing with the Hawks few and far betwee, but the weather seemed favorable so we were cautiously optimistic at the outset. On the hike up to the overlook Warren King kept us entertained by pointing out interesting plant-life such as parasitic Beech-drop, Read the rest of this entry »

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