Saturday, September 17, 2011

September 17: Wrong place?

Birders up and down the coast today--from the Cadillac Mountain hawk watch to Freeport Wild Bird Store--reported seeing thousands of broad-winged hawks migrating through today. Yes, thousands. As in, they needed a little hand clicker to count all the birds they were seeing fly over. There were so many raptors in the air today, pushed along by a perfect NW wind, that their flight was visible on weather radar.

Meanwhile, my birder friend Ron and I, ignorant of all this hawk action overhead, decided to go look for shorebirds at Weskeag Marsh. We saw 12 sandpipers (that's individuals, not species) and about 20 snowy egrets. That many snowy egrets is a pleasant spectacle. But it's not 1,600 broad-winged hawks, etc.! What did we see for raptors? Immediately after we got out of the car we spotted a sharp-shinned hawk circling above us. A couple of minutes after that, an adult peregrine falcon flew off its perch along the marsh's edge and soared right past us, northward. (It was either hunting or misguided.) I always love to see one of them. We also saw two vultures circling high overhead, and in the distance, a buteo that was probably a red-tailed hawk. And that's it.

I admit that I'd love to have had the experience of seeing a zillion hawks. I've attended several hawk watches and they're exciting events, even without that many birds sailing through. But Weskeag was a beautiful place to be today. The marsh grasses are starting to fade and redden, the tide was still rising up the river, angelic white egrets fluttered in the back pannes, and the blue sky was bedecked with a scattered array of clouds that looked almost unreal, like a theatrical backdrop for a particularly cheerful scene in an old-style musical. The perfect backdrop for the amazing drama that is migration. What I regret about the day is not missing all those hawks, but the fact that I didn't have my camera with me to photograph that sky.

Those hawks, too, must have
gloried in today's blue sky
beckoning them south.

No comments:

Post a Comment