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DVOC Field Trip Report
by Frank Windfelder

November 5, 2005
BAKE OVEN KNOB, PA

 

As co-leader Chris Walters and I made our way towards the meeting place at Bake Oven Knob, we knew we were in for balmy weather. The number of hawks is usually directly proportional to the “misery index”, and we were way too comfortable. In the parking lot, we were greeted by an expectant crowd of more than 20 people. The group included Brian Raicich and 6 youths from the Upper Main Line YMCA.

We got to the north lookout at about 9:00 AM. Things were slow at first, but when the first Golden Eagle went by, the pressure was off. Just about everyone had mind-blowing views of this immature bird. The white patches at the bases of the inner primaries, the white tail with a broad black terminal band, and the golden neck hackles were easy to see.

At 11:00 AM, we adjourned to the south lookout where hawks are more easily viewed on southwest winds. Soon, a Northern Goshawk went by, a lifer for many people. Then we were treated to a second Golden Eagle, a couple of Red-shouldered Hawks, and numerous Red-tailed Hawks.

A little after 2:00 PM, we were getting ready to leave when a third Golden Eagle swept past, a lifer for the late-arriving Raja Stephenson. Amazingly, a young Bald Eagle was not far behind. Here is a complete list of the raptors we enjoyed:

Turkey Vulture – 40
Northern Harrier – 3
Red-tailed Hawk – 65
Black Vulture – 6
American Kestrel – 3
Red-shouldered Hawk – 3
Cooper’s Hawk – 1
Northern Goshawk – 1
Sharp-shinned Hawk – 15
Bald Eagle – 1
Golden Eagle – 3

My favorite quote of the day came from young Travis Milliman. When I stated that hawks were not really my forte, he said, “Hawks ARE my forte!” We had enjoyed a two-eagle day, nice weather, and good company. Not too shabby!

Frank Windfelder