Trip Report


Western North Carolina

September 20, 2020

Guides: Vicky Burke & Simon Thompson

Hawkwatching is just one of those things. It can either be extremely rewarding or very dull when no migration seems to take place at all. Today turned out to be pretty good with a very good southbound passage of Bald Eagles, as well as a nice selection of other birds of prey.

The overlook was fairly busy as Vicky Burke, our intrepid leader and hawk expert, has a group of regulars who come to the overlook to help her monitor the hawk migration, plus we had a steady stream of interested visitors who were often surprised at what we were doing. What made it more enjoyable was when some of the general public managed to time their visit to see a hawk or eagle flying over their heads.

Like a good majority of hawkwatches, a good proportion of the migrating raptors were quite distant and required constant scanning by us to make sure they didn’t slip through without getting counted. The day started with a small flock of Double-crested Cormorants moving south and as the day warmed up, a steady stream of Monarch Butterflies drifted overhead – always a pleasure to watch them. We had a small flock of warblers feeding in the Sourwood tree below us and a few Barn Swallows drifted south. As well as around a dozen Bald Eagles (including one adult which passed directly overhead), we had a goud number of Broad-winged Hawks, a single Red-shouldered and several larger Red-tails. Another nice sight was several American Kestrels, the smallest of our falcons, flying gently south. They always look delicate with their long wings and tails. All in all a great day and I al already looking forward to the next time.

Hawkwatching September 20, 2020

Species encountered: 37 species

Chimney Swift
Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Double-crested Cormorant (7)
Turkey Vulture (12)
Osprey (1)
Cooper’s Hawk (1)
Bald Eagle (12)
Red-shouldered Hawk (1)
Broad-winged Hawk (250)
Red-tailed Hawk (3)
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
Hairy Woodpecker
Pileated Woodpecker

    American Kestrel (5)
    Eastern Wood-Pewee
    Red-eyed Vireo
    Blue Jay
    American Crow
    Common Raven
    Carolina Chickadee
    Tufted Titmouse
    White-breasted Nuthatch
    Barn Swallow
    Gray Catbird
    Brown Thrasher
    Swainson’s Thrush

    Pine Siskin
    American Goldfinch
    Eastern Towhee
    Tennessee Warbler
    Hooded Warbler
    Cape May Warbler
    Magnolia Warbler
    Blackburnian Warbler
    Black-throated Blue Warbler
    Black-throated Green Warbler
    Rose-breasted Grosbeak