Three Days in November
at Jo Hays Vista
Nov. 4, 2012

Jo Hays Vista on Tussey Mountain, in central Pennsylvania, is a noted spring hawk watch site, but in the fall, it tends to be overlooked. However, I've had some great days of watching in the fall at Jo Hays. This then is a little summary of some of the hawks I've seen migrating during the first three days of November 2012.

In addition to all its destruction on the Eastern Coast of the United States, Hurricane Sandy also delayed the fall migration. When the weather finally broke and with favorable winds, hawks poured through central PA.

On November 1, the weather also brought the first golden eagle sighted at Jo Hays. Happily it was also a close eagle. Unlike other eagles which can be seen from a long ways away, this golden eagle popped over the tree line on the right and was suddenly in view.

Golden eagle on a soar
  The golden also did a few wing flaps, an unusual occurrence during migration flight.
Golden eagle flap
  I see relatively few red-shouldered hawks, so although this one was rather distant, it was a pleasure to behold.
A distant red-shouldered hawk
  Bald eagles generally come through at the start of fall migration and continue throughout the season. The following is a (rough) photo of a juvenile.
Juvenile bald eagle
  Northern harriers are also atypical hawks to encounter, particularly the male, striking in gray and white with black wing tips.
Distant male northern harrier
  And it is also a treat to see/photograph a peregrine falcon. (This one was a juvenile.)
Juvenile peregrine falcon
  The stars of November hawk migration are the red-tailed hawks that appear in large numbers. On November 3, I saw over 130 redtails fly by.
Incoming red-tailed hawk
  The above photo is of a juvenile redtail. The kids are, as probably all children, more curious about everything that goes on around them and tend to come in closer than the adults do.

Photo note: I used a Pentax K20D, with the Sigma 150-500mm lens, on November 1 to 3, 2011, at Jo Hays Vista on Tussey Mountain, State College, Pennsylvania, for these photos.

My Pennsylvania bird list   ||   Golden eagle fly by from 2011

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