Observation start time: 06:30:00 Observation end time: 17:00:00 Total observation time: 10.5 hours
Official Counter: Julie Brown, Phil Brown
Observers: Amy Maurer, Ivan Bulobanic, Jon Wildey, Judd Nathan, Julie, Laurel, & Alden Brown, Mark Timmerman, Meade Cadot, Nora Hanke, Sandy Taylor, Tom Delaney, Tom Young, with many more...
Visitors: 38 folks, many of whom spent a good chunk of the day enjoying the Broad-wing show. Three young women from Franklin Pierce University hiked up and became captivated by raptor migration, spotting many birds for us without binoculars before having to 'zoom' back to the virtual world. All observers worked hard to find birds in all parts of the sky today - thanks for your help with bird finding and counting, and great company! In Meade's words: 'They're kettling up with my floaters!'
Weather: The sky was cloudless, but it soon became apparent that the sun was obscured by a dimming haze caused by smoke from the massive western wildlifes. This effect persisted the entire day and made for much conversation as well as an interesting sunrise/sunset. Winds were light and started from the NW, eventually shifting to the SW for the final few hours of the count. Cool temps to start (41 F), rising to 63 F by late afternoon.
Raptor Observations: Restless hawk watchers stole glances at their phones and wristwatches in nervous anticipation as if waiting for a delayed train. Finally, two Broad-wingeds rose up at 9:41 am, and it was all aboard! A steady flow of Broad-wingeds peaked during the midday hours with kettles of up to 73 birds, but more commonly 20-40. The flight line shifted from east of the mountain to directly overhead, where many kettles were noted. Small numbers (mainly ones and twos) of Ospreys, Bald Eagles and Northern Harriers (2 'gray ghost' males - first of season; 2 juveniles; 2 unknown age/sex) trickled through during most hours. Peregrines showed themselves three times, the last of which was a bird shapeshifting with a raven in the late afternoon. The token four o-clock Merlin sparred with an equally irate Sharpie. Eventually the counters called it a tie. Two Ospreys found enough lift in the dying day to kept the count going until 6 pm.
Non-raptor Observations: High diversity of migrants with 40 species in all. Two shorebirds - one each of Semipalmated Plover and Solitary Sandpiper, both rare for the site - were unexpected treats. Great Blue Heron, Double-crested Cormorant (5), Canada Goose (45 in three migrant skeins), Ruby-throated Hummingbird (1), six species of warblers including Cape May and Tennessee, and an unexpected and early Pine Siskin at 5:52 pm heading north(!) over the ridge were other highlights. Only 10 Monarchs - perhaps the smoky haze hid more, or hindered their movement.
Predictions: This afternoon's SW winds will strengthen into tomorrow and perhaps be strong enough to allow much movement, at least for Broad-wingeds. Expect a few Ospreys and Peregrines to steer into this headwind. At this point, Friday and Saturday are looking like potentially really good migration days. You'll need reservations to get into the Park: https://www.nhstateparks.org/visit/state-parks/miller-state-park ======================================================================== Report submitted by Phil Brown (<pbrown...>) Pack Monadnock Raptor Migration Observatory information may be found at: www.nhaudubon.org