Monday, September 17, 2012

Chimney Rock Hawk Watch - Sept 15th

After a morning in CPK I went to Chimney Rock in the afternoon, and was surprised at a full parking lot and a lot of people at the designated hawk watch area.  This might have had much to do with the good raptor migration weather with a cool wind out of the north at the time.  Chimney Rock lies on the Watchung Ridge, the most easterly ridge before you drop into the NJ coastal plain.  It wouldn't surprise me if a lot of the raptors that pass through Manhattan connect with this ridge in the vicinity of the Montclair Hawk Watch further to the north east.  Hawks here have to traverse a bit of flat terrain before they hit the next ridge, somewhere in or around the Sourlands (Neshanic, Wertzville area).

In the three hours I was there I had multiple Bald Eagles, about 100 Broad-winged Hawks, American Kestrel, Merlin and Peregrine and Red-tailed Hawk.  Half the Broad-winged came by in a single kettle spiralling in the updraft.  The Red-tailed was probably local, and the Turkey and Black Vultures certainly were.  Sharp-shinned and one or two Cooper's came by, and one particularly large Accipiter that I wondered about being a Goshawk (but the hint of red on the underparts indicated just a large female Cooper's).  Nearly all the hawks were pretty high, although later in the day (~5pm) some of them passed by a little lower.

A nice paved path from the parking lot would make this not a bad place to look for actual migrating Goshawk later in the season.

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