Observation start time: 08:00:00 Observation end time: 16:00:00 Total observation time: 8 hours
Official Counter: Katrina Fenton
Observers: Al Grimstad, Chris McPherson, David Fenton, Henry Walters, Marie Matrano, Michael Burgess, Nancy Moreau, Sandy Fenton
Visitors: There were 62 visitors to the hawkwatch on opening day, many families out enjoying a hike and couples bundled against the October-y chill. Friends old and new came out to help scan the skies, warming the platform with snacks, cocoa, jokes, and stories from the year. Thanks for coming out to welcome in another season!
Weather: Today marked the official start to the 13th season of counting here at Pack Monadnock Raptor Migration Observatory. Today also held the distinction of being the coldest first day in the history of the project with a starting temperature of 46F, far frostier than the 68F average and 5 degrees cooler than the next chilliest start. The 15-20mph northwest wind created a pin cushion-effect of scopes wedged against the picnic table and a nearby Balsam Fir almost became the new owner of a flyaway hat. Clouds were pushed and prodded around a half-clear sky in a shifting array of billows and streaks. Needless to stay, it seemed a day far more suited to begin either of the next two months than this one, but it was refreshing!
Raptor Observations: It was only a 36 minute wait for the first migrant to come into view, an adult female Northern Harrier paralleling the Wapack ridge from above. She was followed by a sprinking of other migrants; accipiters balancing on their elongated tails, an early juvenile Red-shouldered Hawk, Broad-winged Hawks blowing through on wings as strongly bowed as the Ospreys sinking down the side of North Pack. Resident Turkey Vultures, a Red-tailed Hawk, a Merlin, and a Northern Goshawk were also around. A Bald Eagle drifted by in the afternoon, not giving enough clues to tell for sure if it was a local or just passing through.
Non-raptor Observations: The wind kept songbird activity to a minimum on our side of the summit. Just a few passerines were moving in the morning, and a couple of Cedar Waxwings were feasting on the ample mountain ash crop in the afternoon.
Predictions: After a chilly start with temperatures expected to dip into the 30's overnight, tomorrow is looking like it will warm into a beautiful day. The wind should be light and variable, mainly out of the north in the morning. Clear skies will allow the sun to warm the air well into the 60s. The season is just beginning, but those frosty overnight lows might be just enough to encourage early migrants to be on their way. ======================================================================== Report submitted by Katrina Fenton (<trina16...>)) Pack Monadnock Raptor Migration Observatory information may be found at: www.nhaudubon.org