I have made a trip to Hook Mountain in Nyack, NY an annual outing over the last 2 years. I have throughly enjoyed not only the birds but the people I meet and get to know in the hours spent at the summit. I saw some familiar faces, that I remembered from my last visits and outings like these are where birding can be a a social event. We do a lot of discussing about birds, wildlife, nature, and our own lives.
With clear skies today was challenging, and my wind burnt face reminds me of how I should have had another layer on, but I still had a really great time and I think the photos will support that. Enjoy the sights!
|Following the yellow trail, I made my way up to the top of the hook from Rt 9W. It is a steep climb, but fairly quick, if you have the stamina.|
|We were counting migratory raptors. Local birds, residents, did not count. So redtails were constant distractions, there were 4 individuals hovering and hunting over the side of the mountain. The juvenile birds were extra curious and brave.|
|They looked at us a lot too.|
|Who is watching who? While I have to zoom and crop these images to see their faces clearly, they can just do that with their eyes from where they were in the air.|
|A smooth sailing bird, in place just peering at Rockland Lake Park below.|
|And we tried to count other things.... like Cooper's (shown) and Sharp-Shinned Hawks.|
|View of Cooper's (from above) again.|
|And more of these little trouble makers...|
|A cropped image of the head-on view shown below.|
|They flew in very close range to us, sometimes just past our heads- mostly aiming for the dummy owl, propped up to draw raptors towards the mountain. The red tails at one point actually hit the owl with their feet, making a thud that spun the owl around on the stick it sits up on.|
|Their close range also made for good photo opportunities.|
|A large migrating group of brant flew past, a very cool sight!|
|Turkey and black vultures were common all around the mountain, but often in their kettles we spied other birds, like osprey, red-shouldered hawks, bald eagles, and accipitors.|