Hawk Watch Report 2009

by | Jan 11, 2010 | Hawk Watch Updates

I’m writing this report on a rather balmy 48 degree day in January so my thoughts are turning towards spring, but not too fast as I don’t want to be disappointed or rush the seasons!!!

One thing I certainly wasn’t disappointed in was our 2009 season! We totaled 16,130 raptors counted during October and November, the fourth best year in the history of the count! Included in those numbers were our first ever Swallow-tailed Kite! Many of us were treated to outstanding looks at this awesome bird – and many excellent photographs were taken, too! This bird was last seen at our hawkwatch on September 5th – with another Swallow-tailed Kite reported the next day at the Ashland Nature Center watch in DE – possibly our bird returning south after a few weeks eating dragonflies in Fort Washington?

September 19th was also a day for the books! We had 7,525 Broad-winged Hawks travel by with all types of views. A few individuals streaming past to hundreds kettling and streaming by at the same time. Whether directly overhead or only specks – what a show that day! Birds continued to be seen up until dusk – with a large kettle of approximately 800+ birds seen between 5:30 – 6:00PM. Talk about overtime! This was the third best broadwing day in count records as well. There were other records set, Bald Eagles hit a new high mark at 86 as well as Peregrine Falcons at 41.

We had a new daily high for Turkey Vultures at 134 (non-quarry dwellers to be sure).

In the non-raptor highlights, species to mention include Common Raven, Sandhill Crane, Atlantic Brant and without a doubt another rarity – the adult Wood Stork that passed by heading northeast on October 25th.

Well, that’s a recap of the numbers and sightings. I’d just like to add thanks to our compilers who come out without fail, the many regulars and visitors who always help spot birds and keep the compilers on their toes, and everyone else who contributes to the continuing success of the Militia Hill Hawkwatch!

As always, the end of the season Picnic was great – I’m particularly pleased with the ever expanding menu choices!! Keep up the good work on that front too!

Well, that’s about it from me. Hope this letter finds you all doing well and enjoying the start of a new year and decade!!! See you all again this fall!!!

~Rich Conroy



The Militia Hill Hawk Watch would also like to say a special Thank You to the following people :



  • Tom Lloyd
  • John Miller
  • Alfred Fasshauer
  • Jim Quigley
  • Tom Quigley
  • Shirley Gracie
  • Craig Walter
  • Linda Bourdet
  • Wissahickon Birders
  • Wyncote Audubon Society

In Memory of Ruth Zumeta

  • Ruth Pfeffer
  • Mary Carbone

In Memory of Georgine Rettstort

  • Ruth Pfeffer

In Memory of Caroline

  • Richard Atkinson