It’s that time of year when many kinds of raptors (hawks) are on the move in the fall, migrating to warmer, southern climes. If you are hiking up Mount Tom on the Holyoke range, Mount Watatic in Ashburnham, Mount Wachusett in Princeton or Buck Hill at the Blue Hills Reservation and come across a group of binocular-laden people scanning the skies, you’ve found hawk watchers!
I took this picture of a group of hawk watchers on Mount Wachusett last fall. Hikers emerging from a trail below this group were startled by the scopes and binoculars trained in their direction!
From mid-September through October, hawk watchers visit the summits of a number of hills and mountains across the state to count hawks on their annual migration. The birds can be seen soaring in groups called kettles. The hawks take advantage of thermal updrafts that swirl into the sky and then finally hit a stream of wind that takes them on their way. Hawk watching is a challenge—sometimes all you see are specks in the sky—but as they move closer, it is possible to identify these birds by their sillouhettes. On a big day you might see dozens of hawks circling in the sky and thousands counted in a single day. Hawk counts are one way to survey hawk populations and are a traditional citizen-science data gathering activity. Keep your eyes peeled for the occasional humming bird that zooms over the summits as well!
Where might you see these hawks and hawk watchers? Here in Massachusetts there are many excellent hawk watching sites, not just the sites I’ve already mentioned. Local bird clubs often take trips to area hawk watching locations.
Not From Around Here: Green Crabs posted on Aug 22
As part of its work to assess salt marsh health, staff from the Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management (CZM) have frequently observed abundant green crabs, often burrowing in the banks of marsh creeks. This summer, CZM is examining the potential impacts of green crabs in salt marsh habitats, including the impact of burrowing activity.
Plan a Day Trip – Right in Boston Harbor! posted on Aug 18
Looking for a fun day trip for you and possibly your family? Look no further, the Boston Harbor Islands are the place to be. Lots of events take place on these islands during the summer months, so enjoy these festivities while they are here! Spectacle …Continue Reading Plan a Day Trip – Right in Boston Harbor!
K-9 to the Rescue posted on Aug 13
At 5:35 p.m. on Thursday, July 24, Officer Art O’Connell got a call about two missing girls in Douglas State Park. Officer O’Connell, his partner Diesel and a back up state trooper had to search the 5,900-acre, nine square mile, park on foot, as the canopy of the trees was too thick to search via helicopter and the ground too uneven to search by vehicle.