Observation start time: 09:00:00
Observation end time: 15:00:00
Total observation time: 6 hours
Official Counter: Larry Lewis
Observers: Kathleen Pileggi
THE LAND CONSERVANCY FOR SOUTHERN CHESTER COUNTY’S HAWK WATCH AT BUCKTOE
Visitors (2): Kathleen Pileggi
Thanks everyone, for coming to beautiful Bucktoe Creek Preserve!
Cloudy then Rain, Heavy at times (100% cloud cover), Ceiling -
19,800-14,200 ft., Visibility - 10 miles, Temps 44 - 51F, Winds NNE @ 5 -
----“Raptors” seen, but deemed not to be migrating: 1-Red-shouldered Hawk,
4-Red-tailed Hawk, and numerous Black (50) and Turkey Vultures (70).
----Bald Eagle ages: 1 yr.-1; 2 yr.-0; 3 yr.-0; 4 yr.-0; adult-0
----Golden Eagle ages: Imma.-1; adult-0
----“BUCKTOE BIRD BLOG” (BBB) - (Comments on the events & “feel” of the day
– read on, if you dare) We see birds, many of them hawks; encounter other
wildlife; discuss plants; while striving to laugh and have FUN with it all!
Notes on the raptors will be here, other birds and wildlife we notice or
discuss, and humorous (I hope) stories and anecdotes. This isn’t brain
surgery. Trust me, I know about that. I’ve already been “dead” once (it’s
overrated). So, you WILL have to forgive me, but I AM going to have the
ultimate fun with what remains of this life!
TODAY’S ‘BBB:’ ---“Just Chillin’”---
There I was, a blueberry bagel (with berry cream cheese) and a cup of
“field brew” occupying both hands – just chillin’ (key word, here), when
today’s first late bird a House wren began scolding by our feeders. Good
thing I could identify you by calls. We were gonna have trouble if I
needed binoculars! I was fresh out of hands for those – something would
have had to give. Let’s see bagel and coffee on one side of the equation;
House Wren on the other. Gotta go with keeping a firm hold on the bagel
(with berry cream cheese) and coffee, right? Besides, you should be
further south, fella. You’re late…remember, spring ahead, fall back – or
something. Right, Maria (she’ll get back to me in an hour)? Elias?? Help
me out, guys. Maria & Elias sure can see clearly, each with their new
binoculars. They just can’t see their way to changing their clocks to not
be an hour early for CRITICAL things – like Sunday’s bird walk! I’ll get
done teasing you sometime…likely in about an hour… After I relax and waste
some time chillin’ (again, not me) with a cup of COFFEE!
A group of 11 Common Loons flying in loose association sadly forced that
final gulp of coffee down and grabbing my binoculars, becoming species #133
for the season.
It was then that all Hell broke loose. Turkey Vultures came by streaming
south. There were numbers of Red-shouldered Hawks in sight, several in the
air at once. Sharp-shinned Hawks flew past, both low and high. Crows were
in flight, lots of them. Everything was heading south, many quickly.
Hell, I even considered hopping in the car and driving south! You don’t
want to be the last “rat” to leave a sinking ship, right?
Then a Golden Eagle (our third) appeared with a Bald Eagle nearby – both
immature birds - a few minutes after noon. I posted the sighting. All good
things come to an end, right? This one an abrupt end at 12:15, with
rain…damn the luck. It rained HARD, too. That had been so much fun, while
it lasted! Sally at Brandywine Creek State Park and Dave at Ashland, had
both seen the same sort of action. But I’ll just bet they didn’t see what
We had another visit from our young trespasser today and his “invited
guests.” A bit of background is in order: Bucktoe is a private preserve
open to the public for scheduled and advertised events ONLY. There are
plenty of those, however, including the hawk watch which I run. What we
don’t want is the general public just wandering around aimlessly with their
own agenda – whatever that might be. Still, we get some of that, though we
endeavor to discourage it when encountered. It happened today. There we
were, huddled in my van against the cold wind and driving rain – with the
heat temporarily on, chilled to the core. (That word - “chill” - will
become important later in the story.) The temperature was 48 degrees - the
definition of raw. The memory of our great morning of hawk migration was
quickly fading in the fog from our breath coating the windows. I was
surprised to see two young people scurry quickly right past us – the
advertised program they could be here legitimately attending – without a
glance, continuing down a trail. We were obviously not their destination or
reason for being here. But what was? I soon recognized one of the “lads”
as someone I had seen before, walk through our site. The one had even been
here last week with two other “guests.” He is nice that way, I guess. I
hadn’t confronted him then – the weather had been nice and a casual walk
communing with nature was possible. Besides, I had confronted him last
year and he was advised of the rules at Bucktoe. Yet, here he was again
and with the weather such as it was – the notion of a casual stroll with
nature was gone. The pair was rather smartly dressed in SHORTS – you know,
to stave off the conditions - with a windbreaker pulled over their heads.
They were obviously cold and uncomfortable as they scampered down the
meadow trail. I was certain they were heading for one of our numerous
sheds we have scattered about the property for various projects and
programs, but for what purpose? Nobody would be out here for a casual
stroll. Not in this weather! Hell, I wasn’t even out there! Surely,
nothing good was happening. After they passed, I emerged from the
sanctuary of the van and ventured into the pouring rain, loosely following
them to see what was amuck, staying hidden in the meadow vegetation – you
see I had binoculars. They made it to the shed I thought they were heading
to, a few minutes before I reached a vantage point above them. I figured
it could be something to do with drugs – I don’t know. I was prepared to
see anything, but to be honest; I couldn’t quite make out exactly what they
were doing. I hadn’t the audacity to bring my scope. But drugs were not
out of the question and that wouldn’t do. Ever the birder, I heard two
Barred Owls calling as I returned to the van. They would be back past
there in short order if they followed their m.o. from past visits.
(detective lingo) I walked out to the parking lot and took a picture of
their car and license plate – you know, for evidence. Hmmm…a BMW – our
lads drive a “Beamer?” They did come back within 15 minutes. I approached
them, with this astute and inspired opening line, “My name is Larry, what
are you guys doing here?” I thought of the interrogation opening salvo
myself. Pretty good, eh?
“We are just here enjoying nature and the birds. Communing with nature,
Dude.” They stated, reeking of smoke (also not allowed here), at the very
least. They actually said “communing” and “dude” (is dude capitalized? Am
I Mr. Dude??, If so, I’ll consider that a promotion.) So, THAT’S what
communing looks like? And they were here for birds?? I thought that
particularly amusing as they had never been to anything with me and I run
much of the birding activity here and without binoculars. Sort of like
explaining to the Pope that you’re Catholic (and while wearing no cross), I
reckon. In fact, they had walked right past the birding event! Had they
heard my Barred Owls? Say two “Hail Mary’s” and repent, sinner!
“Yeah, we went down to that building and we were just chillin’.” They
added in a lingo I found perfect for the occasion. I couldn’t resist.
Neither would you…
“Chilling?” I said, barely disguising my chuckle, “Tell me, exactly what
are your options? It’s freezing out here, windy, raining, and you’re
wearing shorts! You can “chill” anywhere. Hell, we were in the van there
“chillin’,’’ fully-dressed and with the heat blazing! Yet, you drove all
the way out here, parked, and then walked a quarter-mile in the driving
rain and wind, in 48 degree temperatures all the way through a wet meadow,
dressed in shorts and sneakers to do what? CHILL!?? I’ll bet you were
I worry about our future - you? They were advised of our rules, AGAIN,
and sent on their way to “chill” another day and another place. If I end
up shot dead out here…you’ll know they came back with vengeance on their
“agenda.” But at least we have a picture of their car and license…
Report faithfully submitted by Detective Lewis
---- Thanks to The Land Conservancy for Southern Chester County for their
support, and especially, to the Brokaws, for not only their incredible
support, but gracious generosity in opening their property to the public
for this watch, and oh, so very much more!
----ADDITIONAL BIRD HIGHLIGHTS:
11-Common Loon, 2-Barred Owl, 2-COMMON RAVEN, 1-Horned Lark, 1-House Wren,
----OTHER WILDLIFE NOTED: Butterflies (0): Dragonflies (0): Reptiles &
Amphibians (0): Mammals (0).
----EBNT’s “Walk with Nature” ™ Program Daily Tally with our Fitbits:
This is a stationary watch, but if I stay stationary too long, I might tend
to “bulk up.” Besides, I am ever so fortunate to be walking unaided, at
all! Therefore, I keep moving (if you’ve been here, then you know that I
pace endlessly….) - my Fitbit thanks me and its part of my “Walk with
Nature” program. So, below are MY results at the watch for the day. Your
totals could all be zero, if you choose to sit and relax. You are
certainly welcome to take it easy….I simply choose not to, affording me a
panoramic view of our entire sky and a bit of exercise. So come join our
“Walk with Nature!” ™ Anyway, just for fun, here are my numbers at the site
for today (join me, if you wish): Miles: 2.14; Steps: 5,009; Floors: 11.
----“SEASON’S BIRD SPECIES LIST” – we at Bucktoe are not just a Hawk Watch,
but conduct a migration tally from the site. We include it here, from time
to time (about once a week), to let you know what else we’re seeing here at
the Bucktoe Watch. Our tally board, on site, will feature an approximation
(very rough, best “guestimate,” – searching for Hawks must remain our
primary focus) for totals of each species seen for “The Watch” year.
TOTAL SPECIES – Identified from watch site: today: 45; this season: 133
NEW SPECIES ADDED TODAY TO THIS YEAR’S “WATCH SPECIES LIST (1):” Common
Tomorrow’s flight looks better and worse than today. No, winds are good,
there will be background clouds. Should be fine. What can I say?
Come join us, folks! We’re here every day thru Nov. 30, 9am thru 3pm.
Rain or shine.
This report is being sent individually to participants and people deemed to
be interested parties. If you wish off the list, kindly notify me and you
will be removed. However, this one mailing list is how I notify every one
of our events, our walk schedule, tours and rare birds.
The Hawk Watch at Bucktoe Creek Preserve is sponsored by THE LAND
CONSERVANCY FOR SOUTHERN CHESTER COUNTY. Please contact us at
<earlybirdtours...> with questions or comments.
Report submitted by Larry Lewis (<earlybirdtours...>)
High open meadow near Red Clay Creek
Directions to site:
From Kennett Square, PA (in southern Chester County):
Take Union Street south out of town. This becomes Kaolin Road. Make a right
onto Hillendale Road. Proceed about 1.5 miles to Sharp Road and make a
left. At the second hilltop on Sharp Road, the entrance is on the left
across from Candlewyck development. (432 Sharp Rd.) Upon entering driveway,
make a right on gravel road opposite first driveway you see on left. Follow
gravel road (and the "Hawk Watch" signs for about 1/2 mile to the pavilion
on the left and the parking area in the grass to the right.