Rockfish Gap Hawk Watch 10/22/10

Some days I am lucky when birding; other days just don't work out well. Today was a day of missed opportunities. I was just about ready to come inside from working in my yard when I heard my phone ring. Five minutes later when I picked up the voicemail message, it was a neighbor calling me to say that at 10:30 a.m. there was a Bald Eagle fishing at Lake Monocan just down the road. I grabbed my camera, and got there at 10:45, but the eagle had already gone.

I had originally planned to get to the hawk watch at 11:00, but this delayed my getting to Rockfish Gap until 11:30. It was in the 60's when I was working in my yard, but I thought I should take a sweatshirt along with me to the mountain. When I arrived the temperature was in the 40s, and the wind was so strong that every time I stood up, I had to keep a foot on my chair so it would not blow away. It was really cold. There were only a few wisps of clouds in the bright blue sky, but as many as 12 jet contrails at one time.

I saw quite a few Black and Turkey Vultures, three Ravens, and I am fairly sure that the only other bird worth mentioning was a Peregrine Falcon. With my "new" 10x binoculars, I have been fooled into thinking that a bird is closer than it really is, as I am still used to my old 7x magnification. I thought that when I saw the falcon, it was above the ridge line and headed right toward me. It looked very big, and had very straight, slender wings. I brought down my binoculars to put my glasses on to see if it were naked eye, but I did not see it, nor could I find it again in looking through my binoculars. Drats!! I wondered if it were much closer than I had thought, and while I was putting on my glasses, it may have zoomed right past me in the strong wind. I left at 1:00 - I was too cold to stay any longer.

Maybe next time.

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