[CT Birds] spring hawk watching

Carrier Graphics carriergraphics at sbcglobal.net
Sat Apr 10 10:56:16 EDT 2010

    Several people have written or called me about where to go for spring hawk watching, so if you don't mind I have some info here to share with those who might be interested.

Time line for spring Hawk Watching - 

March: This is the month when the big hawks, like Red-tails and Red Shoulders migrate into and through CT. April: is when most all the others come through. In spring though, the hawks are much less concentrated as in the fall, but they still come through in numbers. Mid April is the peak.

Where to go: The BEST, but not only place to see and count hawks in spring is any place that has a south/north mt range. Here in CT we have several. The best I know of is the Talcott Mt range that runs from Meriden north to the Mass border. Find a viewing spot at a high point and look west. As birds come in from the west, they like to catch the up drafts reflected off the west facing slopes, and then follow it due north. Many hawks can be seen at eye level here, very different than in the fall. You can get much closer looks, often looking down at them.

My best Hawk Watch spot for spring viewing through the years has been Penwood Park in Bloomfield CT. Walking a mile or so in on the north road off the parking lot you reach a high open overlook on the left. This is a big rock outcropping on the Talcott Mt ridge. From here you can see on a good day with a west or south west wind, hundreds of hawks throughout the day. Also seen can be many spring arrivingpasserines as well, such as swallows, warblers and much more. In past years we have seen here, Sandhill crane, Bittern, Snow geese, and lots more. 

For a spring inland hawk watch site, this has always been a hot spot, though it does not get maned much anymore. All the expected hawks can be seen here in mid April, with occasional sightings of: Rough-leg, Bald and Golden Eagle, Goshawk, Merlin,Peregrine and Ravens. Daily High counts in past springs are: Merlin-16, Broadwing-800, Sharpie-80ish. May not be as good as some fall sites, but sure does quite well for spring.

So try any site on a north/west ridge, and spend the day looking west and counting hawks!

Paul Carrier - Harwinton

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