Sunday, October 5, 2008

Blueberry Hill, Granville - Oct 5th

Blueberry Hill, Granville, MA. - Susannah chats with resident hawk counter John Weeks.

The day started off in the nicest possible manner with 3 Black-throated Green Warblers together in the trees at the rear of the apartment, visible from the rear balcony. Lots of American Robins, some Tufted Titmice and a White-breasted Nuthatch too.

Later, we had a family outing to Blueberry Hill in Granville (West of Springfield), a spot famed amongst birders for its raptor migration watch point. It was another glorious fall day, maybe a little too nice for a decent migration of raptors, but in the ninety or so minutes that we were there we saw two Bald Eagles, several Red-tails (non-migrants), about 10 Sharp-shinned Hawks, about 3 Cooper's Hawks, and 2 migrant Peregrines drifting South. Perhaps the highlight for us, simply because we don't see that many in Western MA, was the near constant presence of 2 -3 Red-shouldered Hawks drifting around, sparring with other raptors and frequently calling over the hillside. No pics of these unfortunately, but we all enjoyed good scope views.
Quite a few passerines present near the hill top as well, with about 20 Yellow-rumped Warblers, 4 'Eastern' Palm Warblers, a single Nashville Warbler, Golden-crowned and Ruby-crowned Kinglets. All in all, a most enjoyable trip to Granville. Many thanks to John Weeks for putting up with us and for introducing us to his raptor migration watch point.

Juvenile Accipiter - This bird passed the watch point at relatively close range. We thought Cooper's in the field, based largely on structure, but looking at these images I don't mind admitting that I'm increasingly troubled by the Cooper's/Sharp-shinned species problem, especially with birds like this! Comments would be most welcome.

Peregrine - Adult migrating over Blueberry Hill.

Best birding,


1 comment:

Tom Pirro said...

To me that Accp. looks like a Sharp-shinned Hawk, the streaking appears heavish through the breast onto the belly...but then again its not "real" heavy. The tail appears squared off with the outer feathers seemly "nicked off" making look a bit roundish but more more like some field guides show for female SS...also there does not appear to be much of white terminal band on the tail again pointing toward SS. The head "size" or projection past the wing I find tough to gauge in the photos.
That said, I didn't see the bird in person and flying. Also, colors and shading of light can do some odd things in photography.

I wonder sometimes if hawk watchers, and I am one of them (so I am pointing a finger at myself as much as any one else), don't use the unidentified Accip. column on the "score pad enough". I may get a nasty email from hawk counters at Cape May but here goes: this year at Cape May 7888 SS and CH have been counted and NO Un ID'd Accips.! Not ONE passed too quickly, was too far or just didn't get seen well enough to not be ID'd? While I do not doubt the overall numbers and ratios are "directionally correct", there had to be at least 1 "I don't know" of the bunch.