Day By Day

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Hawk Mountain

One of my correspondents asked for more "nature shots." Another asked about Hawk Mountain Sanctuary. Here's a picture I recently took of Hawk Mountain on one of my morning rambles. The hill in the foreground makes it look a lot smaller than it really is, but I like the way the lines converge.

For information on the Sanctuary, one of my favorite places, check out their website here. If you can, try to visit it sometime in late September or October and if you are lucky you might hit it on one of their "thousand bird days." The sanctuary sits right smack dab in the middle of the migration route of the eastern raptors and the viewing from the North Lookout can be spectacular. Take a pair of binoculars and a pad to sit on [rocks get hard after a while], dress appropriately for the weather, climb to the lookout, make yourself comfortable, and enjoy as hawks, falcons, eagles, and whatnot stream by. Don't worry if you aren't a birder. There are experts on hand to identify the species and to point them out as they appear.

There's a bit of luck involved. Sometimes you might sit for hours and only see a couple of turkey vultures. Other times you might have dozens of spectacular sightings. My favorite moment was once last February when, after two hours on the lookout without seeing anything, I was getting ready to leave. Suddenly a merlin appeared [they are really fast], circled the lookout three times eying me up, and then attacked a stuffed owl the sanctuary had placed nearby. Another time I saw three bald eagles stacked up over Hunters Field [cool]. Another time two black vultures decided to perch right on the lookout and were completely unfazed as people crept within ten feet of them to take pictures [way cool].

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