The change of season is marked by many things in nature. Bird migration, and especially raptor migration, ranks as my favorite. Actually seeing raptors as they head south is a physical rendering of summer changing to fall and then to winter. Now, the raptor-watching season is officially over, and it is time for the winter season. What a great raptor migration it has been! In fact, it has been the best autumn at Ashland Hawk Watch in just about every way.
First of all, we had 1,118 drop-in visitors at the hawk watch which is approximately the total from the last two years combined. 574 hours were spent counting raptors this year, which is another record. We had a few true rarities fly past, including a Swallow-tailed Kite on September 6, and a Wood Stork on October 25. Florida came to Ashland this year! We also broke season total records for Black Vulture, Osprey, Bald Eagle, Cooper’s Hawk, Broad-winged Hawk, Red-tailed Hawk, Golden Eagle, and American Kestrel. During mid-September, the Broad-winged Hawk flight of almost 7,500 birds was a dramatic spectacle of nature. Breaking our total number of raptors…13,071, will probably be a difficult undertaking in the future.
The Delaware Nature Society and the Delmarva Ornithological Societythank our official Hawk Watcher, Cyrus Moqtaderi for his skills with birds and people. You made it an enjoyable experience to be on the hill. Also, thanks go out to our volunteers who staffed the hawk watch this year…Bob Strahorn, Bob Rufe, Sally O’Byrne, and Carol Majors really kept things rolling on Sundays and Mondays. Additionally, Derek Stoner, Bill Stewart, Judy Montgomery, Jonathan Stein, Carol Horning, and Alex Zorach volunteered to fill in the gaps and extend our coverage. Jonathan, by the way, volunteered 80 hours at the Hawk Watch this year and will be using the experience as independent study credit at University of Delaware.
Thanks for a great season, and hopefully we will see you next fall.