By Sally O’Byrne, Teacher Naturalist
In August, five intrepid boys joined intern AmandaWerner and I for a week of camping, conservation, and science at Hawk Mountain Sanctuary for the Summer at Hawk Mountain camp. We arrived and set up camp at one of their Adirondack Shelters, our home for 3 days and nights.
We met Dr. Goodrich, one of the biologists at Hawk Mountain, on our first afternoon, and learned of the international raptor research taking place. Wednesday was devoted to our ‘service learning’ project – in other words, doing some grounds maintenance to pay for our week. Cutting back road vegetation to comply with county requirements was our job, and the boys grabbed the clippers and chopped and bagged for the morning.
A trip to the river for a swim was the afternoon refresher.
Thursday was the first day of the Hawk Mountain Fall Migration count, and we were there, helping to see the first raptors traveling south along the Kittatinny Ridge.
We then hiked one of the most challenging trails, tackling boulders along the ridge-top and then downhill to the River of Rocks. We found it was a super snake finding day, and we spotted 3 different species along the trail. Here is the Copperhead we found, the first one documented at Hawk Mountain for many years.
After that ‘athletic day’, everyone slept well.
And after campfire breakfast of leftover chile and black beans, we cleaned our site and headed back to Ashland.
I hope to see some enthusiastic Raptor counters and campers next year for another Summer at Hawk Mountain trip!