December 26, 2013 [LINK / comment]

Hawk watch: Up close & personal

Even though I was extremely busy with teaching duties this past fall semester, it happens that my drive home takes me right past where the Rockfish Gap Hawk Watch takes place. So, I was able to put in a few hours most weeks helping the other observers keep track of raptor migration. The highlights for me were seeing a Merlins zoom past at eye level (in October, I believe), and seeing multiple Bald Eagles flying past high overhead. The following photos were not taken at the Hawk Watch, but they are worth displaying nonetheless.


Red-tailed Hawk, in Swoope, on October 5.

Bald Eagles

Bald Eagles, in Swoope, on November 17.

Christmas Bird Count

Ever since they moved the Christmas Bird Count in this area ahead by a week a few years ago, I haven't been able to participate in it. On the actual Christmas Day, however, I did a bit of bird watching, along with Jacqueline, and we saw some Hooded Mergansers at the DuPont Ponds in Waynesboro.

Hooded Mergansers

Hooded Mergansers, in Waynesboro, on December 25.

For many more bird photos, which I have been posting on this Web site and on Facebook for the past few months (blog or not), see the Wild Birds yearly photo gallery page.

Where are the Monarchs?

One of the disturbing trends in nature this year has been the sharp decline in the population of Monarch butterflies. They usually migrate through our area in large numbers throughout September and early October, but this year there just weren't that many. For more on this, see