Rock Cut S. P. Hawk Watch

At this morning’s hawkwatch six of us enjoyed the mild weather under cloudy skies. Counting a few birds seen while driving through the park to the hawk watch site above Olson Lake we tallied only 26 species. Unfortunately, only two of those were birds of prey. Fifteen Turkey Vultures put in an appearance when they finally came off their overnight roost and took to the air. In addition we saw one Red-tailed Hawk. Their is no reason to think that the Vultures or the Red-tail were actually migrants.
Highlights were a big flock of Cedar Waxwings, good views of perched adult and immature Turkey Vultures side-by-side, a casual count of 89 Blue Jays (we probably let 20 – 30 go by before we began counting) all headed south, and a couple of late lingering Chimney Swifts.
As a hawk watching morning it was a total bust.
By around 12:30 when I arrived at home the clouds parted, the sun shone and hawks began flying over my house. Not a huge number, but a lot more than we saw in three hours this morning. Cooper’s Hawks, Sharpshins and a couple of Broad-wings in addition to a couple of Red-tails that probably were migrants – way up high and moving in a decidedly southward direction. At one point a few circling Cooper’s and Broad-wings were joined by a Common Nighthawk – something I’ve never seen before.
Soon the clouds closed in again and the activity stopped.

Hawkwatch coming up on Saturday

Join us for some hawkwatching on Saturday Sept. 24 from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon in the parking area at Olson Lake in Rock Cut State Park. There was a large movement of Broad-winged Hawks through Hawk Ridge in Duluth this past weekend, so if we are lucky we might see a lot of activity. Bring your scopes, binoculars and maybe a comfortable chair.

Rock Cut State Park birding trails

At the September 8th club meeting we met two young women who are working with Rock Cut State Park to establish dedicated birding trails in the park. They hope to designate four trails (one targeting each season), restricted to foot travel, that will allow individual and group bird walks to access prime birding locations.
They are seeking recommendations for trails for each season and an idea of what birds can reasonably be found on those trails. They are planning to erect signs along the trails indicating what birds should be listened for and watched for in the various spots and habitats.
You can contact them directly with your ideas. The more input, the better!

Robin Atwater – robinatwater4530@aol.com and Genevieve Clemens – freckleface2@yahoo.com

Western Kingbird at Rockford airport

Tom Little called me around 6:15 p.m. tonight to report that he had seen a Western Kingbird at the Rockford airport just off of Belt Line Road east of the bridge over the Kishwaukee River. His report is on IBET.

I was driving west on Auburn when he called, so I immediately headed for the airport. When I arrived, I checked the fence lines he described and saw 2 or 3 kingbirds way, way down the fence line to the east. 1 was lighter than the other two from the back view, so it was probably Tom’s bird, but it was too far away for me to identify with 10X binoculars. I didn’t have a scope. Within 10 minutes, Larry and Donna Balch arrived with 2 scopes, but by then, no kingbirds of any species were visible. We looked for at least 30 more minutes, including a drive over to Baxter Road near the Kilbuck FP entrance, but still no kingbirds. If seen in the morning, I will call the NCIOS hotline again and also post on IBET.