Broad-winged Hawks - small flock forming over farm fields, River Road, Gill, Franklin Co., MA.
April 24th, 2017. Eventually, I tallied 225 over a period of minutes.
April 24th was a gorgeous, warm spring day in Western Mass with winds in the southern quarter throughout the day. After dropping Matan school I opted for a quick drive along River Road in Gill and stopped for what should have been a five minute stroll along the fields. A quick scan above the treeline produced a couple of soaring Broad-winged Hawks. Rather too quickly I assumed they were recently arrived local breeders. Minutes later, a small kettle of 8, then 12 Broad-wings formed in the same spot where the previous two birds had been. From that moment on, the following 90 minutes saw an excellent northward migration of Broad-winged Hawks along the Connecticut River in Gill. Several other species enjoyed the warm air and favorable conditions and by the end of the 90 minutes I'd logged; 5 Common Loons (all in breeding plumage), 4 Double-crested Cormorants, 12 Turkey Vultures, 5 Sharp-shinned Hawks, 2 Merlins, 2 Ospreys and 225 Broad-winged Hawks. The latter included several large kettles of up to 42 birds and was easily the most intense migration of raptors that I've seen in Gill.
Sharp-shinned Hawk - northbound over farm fields, River Road, Gill, Franklin Co., MA. April 24th, 2017.
Broad-winged Hawk - over farm fields, River Road, Gill, Franklin Co., MA. April 24th, 2017.
A fantastic morning for this species in Gill with some kettles containing up to 42 birds.
The closer birds, like this one, moved through incredibly quickly.
I rarely see Common Loons away from Barton Cove, so to have a five in a morning (all breeding plumage birds migrating north) was certainly notable for the Gill area.
Common Loon - northbound over farm fields, River Road, Gill, Franklin Co., MA. April 24th, 2017.