Rockfish Gap Hawk Watch 10/24/10

After a few very cold and windy days at the Hawk Watch, today was mild with light winds. Morning cloud cover gave way to mostly sunny skies. I was there from 10:30 to 2:30.

Sure, there were a good number on Sharp-shinned Hawks, some Cooper's Hawks, a few Red-tailed Hawks, Ravens, and lots of vultures, and flocks of Cedar Waxwings and Robins would pass by, but by this time in the season everyone was hoping for falcons, eagles, and perhaps a Goshawk. But not today.

Cooper's Hawk

Sharp-shinned Hawk

However, it was the bugs that put on the show today. In addition to lots of Lady Bugs and a few Stink Bugs, one of the largest Walking Sticks I have ever seen was on the window behind our chairs. At one point a Crab Spider approached it, but after seeing its size, decided that the Walking Stick was more than it wanted to take on.

Walking Stick and Spider

Crab Spider (Xysticus ferox)

A Wheel Bug made an appearance, and it protruded its rear (reddish-orange) scent sac in defense when one of the hawk watchers put her finger near it.

Wheel Bug

Wheel Bug

And then a Praying Mantis flew by the group to see what was going on. It had a face that only its mother could love.

Praying Mantis

Praying Mantis

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