Day By Day

Saturday, September 20, 2008

A Day On Hawk Mountain

It is the weekend so once again it is time to post some pictures of the gorgeous commonwealth. This week I had a chance to spend some time up at Hawk Mountain Sanctuary. Here's a bit of what I saw there.

From up high [about 1500 feet] Pennsylvania farmland looks a bit like Middle Earth, don't you think? That hill in the center of the image is "Donat" [named after the family that owns the land] and is a landmark used by bird watchers who with few exceptions refer to it as the "Doughnut."

Speaking of birdwatchers -- right now the Fall raptor migration is in full swing and that always brings out a crowd of people who like to scan the skies -- people such as these perched at the South Lookout. Of course the main purpose of being there is to look at raptors, but sometimes I find the watchers more interesting than the watched, especially when the broadwings were passing through.

Broadwings are soaring birds who ride high up on the thermals and are almost always too far away to photograph. Even through binoculars they often appear as a cloud of tiny specks. While I was there three bald eagles also passed through but they were all too far away to get a good shot. An American kestrel came close, but was traveling far too fast and too erratically to keep in frame. So, rather than posting ambiguous pictures of tiny dark blobs against the sky, I'm giving you pictures of the groundbound humans.

Here's an example of my bird pictures.

Hawk Mountain attracts student interns from all over the world. Here's one of this year's crop. Now isn't she more interesting to look at than some silly hawk? Yeah, I thought so too.

Finally, birdwatching is often a family affair and on that day there were lots of young couples with kids around. I'm not sure whether putting the really young offspring out on a precipice is a good idea, though.