Date: 10/17/20 10:00 am
From: <reports...>
Subject: [va-bird] Rockfish Gap Hawk Watch (16 Oct 2020) 58 Raptors
Rockfish Gap Hawk Watch
Waynesboro, Virginia, USA
Daily Raptor Counts: Oct 16, 2020
Species Day's Count Month Total Season Total
------------------ ----------- -------------- --------------
Black Vulture 0 0 0
Turkey Vulture 0 0 0
Osprey 1 25 246
Bald Eagle 2 59 306
Northern Harrier 1 26 53
Sharp-shinned Hawk 33 978 1743
Cooper's Hawk 8 111 245
Northern Goshawk 0 1 2
Red-shouldered Hawk 0 11 38
Broad-winged Hawk 3 80 29659
Red-tailed Hawk 8 62 214
Rough-legged Hawk 0 0 0
Golden Eagle 1 3 6
American Kestrel 0 33 158
Merlin 1 26 56
Peregrine Falcon 0 27 41
Unknown Accipiter 0 6 12
Unknown Buteo 0 4 12
Unknown Falcon 0 1 5
Unknown Eagle 0 0 1
Unknown Raptor 0 15 34
Mississippi Kite 0 0 3
Swainson's Hawk 0 0 1

Total: 58 1468 32835

Observation start time: 08:00:00
Observation end time: 13:15:00
Total observation time: 1 hours

Official Counter: Brenda Tekin


Buddy Lefflers, Floyd and Donna Caldwell, and Michael Williams and his
furry companion, Cocoa.

Started out with 100% cloud cover but high ceiling and a few breaks in the
clouds for some small rays of sunshine out over the valley to the west and
the Virginia Piedmont to the east. A tad chilly 58 with steady NW winds
that diminished with approaching cold front. Crystal clear as far as one
could see which was eastern slopes of the Alleghenies. Toward late morning
we actually had a break in the clouds to the north, with those greatly
appreciated round white puffy clouds mixed with thing wisps in-between and
bright blue sky. However, the cold front was advancing from the W to NW
and dark threatening clouds moved in. We could see the rain showers over
the Alleghenies moving across the Shenandoah Valley and first drops fell
over Afton a few minutes past the 1pm hour (EST). Light steady rain soon
was falling and count was shut down by 1:15. Within 4 minutes the
temperature dropped from 58 to 47!

Raptor Observations:
Relatively a slow day, with a few spurts. First bird was first spotted as
a high sailing spec over the gap. A Northern Harrier at 8:22 EST heading
due south following the ridge. Only falcon was a merlin that zipped in and
zipped right o out. Two Bald Eagles, one a first year and the other unaged
juvenile. The highlight was an adult Golden Eagle first located far out
over the Shenandoah Valley circling below an impressive kettle of migrating
Black Vultures. As the vultures streamed heading southward the Golden
Eagle heading southward toward the western slope of the Blue Ridge. The
bird was slow and with the few specs of sunlight shining down, viewing
through spotting scope the details on the dorsal view of this bird were
striking with the golden brown from head to back and upper tail coverts and
thin dark terminal tail band. The wings appeared two-toned, with upper
coverts the same almost golden brown and noteably darker primaries. It
eventually reached the north side of the gap where it circled for decent
closer views. Unfortunately, it headed low to the north and out of sight
at about 12:23. About 40 minutes later while scanning the western valley
an adult golden eagle was picked up sailing low SW. Those familiar with
our landmarks it was lost as it continued behind the "Turtle's back." it
is assumed this was the same adult observed earlier.

Non-raptor Observations:
Impressive flights of migrating vultures today, both Black and Turkey, each
flying separately in their groups, from 20-30 to upwards of 50-70 at a
time, hundreds of them. They would form large kettles out over the
western valley, then stream out all heading SW. At one point we had one
"wall" of 50+ passing over the "plateau." Other observations included 14
Tree Swallow, 71 Blue Jay, 84 Pine Siskin, 2 Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, 1
Pileated Woodpecker and 16 Monarch Butterfly

lot more sunshine
Report submitted by Brenda Tekin (<brenda...>)
Rockfish Gap Hawk Watch information may be found at:

More site information at

You are subscribed to VA-BIRD. To post to this mailing list, simply send email to va-
<bird...> To unsubscribe, send email to
<va-bird-request...> with 'unsubscribe' in the Subject field. You can also
unsubscribe, change your mail delivery settings to digest mode, or temporarily disable
emails with vacation mode by going to, entering
your email and selecting the desired option from the drop down.

Join us on Facebook!