Mount Peter Hawk Watch
"Mount Peter is the oldest, continually run, all-volunteer fall watch in the country!"

       Compiler:  Judy Cinquina          Location      

2014 Report

11 Year Summary  10 Year Average  2014 Dailies    Regional Counts 
2013: Report, Dailies 
2012: Report, Dailies  2011: Report, Dailies   2010: Report, Dailies  
 2009: Report, Dailies   2008: Report,
Dailies  2007: Report
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Video:  Judy Cinquina at the Hook Mountain Luncheon, Dec 6, 2014
5 hawk watches were present:  Hook Mt, Fire Island, Mt. Peter, Bear Mtn. and Stateline

Over Mount Peter Hawk Watch’s 57-year existence, the fall migration seems to have climbed higher and higher as the trees took over this once bald lookout. Our 2014, 72-day watch between September 1 and November 15 produced 9,012 raptors, but far too many of them were so high that they were mere specks and required sharp eyes and multiple observers to find and identify each one. Nevertheless, the 468 hours our 13 volunteers spent scanning the skies was rewarded with a record Red-shouldered Hawk count and near records for both Red-tailed Hawk and Golden Eagle.

Without large coastal storms to inspire the Broad-winged Hawks to move inland over our lookout, September brought us only an average 5,685. Most of the Broad-wings moved through between the 13th and 24th, with some pausing long enough to catch a snack of dragonflies and eat them on the wing. Rick Hansen grabbed the best day on the 14th, recording 2,340 on light northwest winds. The larger buteos dominated October and November, including a surprising explosion of Red-shouldered Hawks. Record numbers were recorded at Mount Peter (136), Hook Mountain (306) and State Line (512). At Mount Peter, they moved through primarily between October 20 and November 4, and most were adult-57, with immature-25, and unknown-54. Our best Red-shoulder count days were October 24 and November 4, netting 16 apiece by leaders Denise Farrell and Ajit Antony, respectively. Red-tailed Hawks scored our third best tally of all time, with 658 counted. Tom Millard brought in the best tally with 179 Tails, November 2 on strong northwest winds. For the fourth season in a row, Rough-legged Hawks failed to show up.

Accipiter numbers bounced up a bit from last year. Although still below average, 1,119 Sharp-shinned Hawks moved through, most between September 17 and October 27. They broke 100 on only one day, October 20, with 101 counted on light, south winds. Cooper’s Hawks were a bit above our 10-year average with 122 noted. Our best day was claimed by Ken Witkowski with 12 on October 26. Carol Linguanti supplied us with our sole N. Goshawk in fog and drizzle, November 12. An immature, the Gos rose north of the lookout and flew directly over our platform at eye level. Carol described the Gos as “stocky” and steady and strong on 20 m/h winds. Falcons hovered around average, with Am. Kestrel numbers a bit under par at 139: 24 male, 23 female, and 92 unknown. Merlins tied last years’ count of 23, a bit over the average. On September 2, one rose up behind the lookout, lugging prey. It was strafed by a Chimney Swift a couple of times before the Swift moved on. I suspected the Merlin’s prey was another Swift. Twelve Peregrine Falcons came in just two under our 10-year average.

The Osprey count was an unhealthy 111. Only September 14 reached double digits, when 10 moved through with the 2000+ Broadwings. N. Harriers limped along with an under par 46 and no double digit days: 4 male, 8 female, 12 immature and 22 unknown. Down considerably from our record 130 in 2012, Bald Eagles still came in with an above average 79 count: 31 adult, a healthy 45 immature, and 3 unknown too far out to age. We were all surprised by the 10 Golden Eagles counted this season: 2 adult, 8 immature. Our former season record was 12 set in 1994. It’s been a long wait for another double digit tally. For the second time, Ajit Antony tied our old daily record of three Golden Eagles, this time on November 4. Record numbers of both vultures were recorded, but the 232 Blacks and 570 Turkeys were more a result of counting earlier and paying more attention to those moving far out in the Warwick valley, like the 44 Blacks that kettled up and headed south, October 20, than an actual vulture increase.

Monarch butterflies rebounded considerably from last season’s abysmal showing, with 443 tallied. Denise Farrell submitted the highest count of 144, September 19. Ruby-throated Hummingbirds were almost a no-show, with a mere 12 seen. 1,221 migrant Blue Jays moved through, with Linda Peskac claiming the biggest day of 427, October 5. This season’s 7,527 Canada Geese was about average. They seemed to be inspired by strong westerly winds, like those on October 12 and 19 when 1,061 and 2,895 respectively passed the lookout. The 12th and 19th also produced 50 and 93 Brant.  All but one of the 42 Snow Geese noted went over October 3. Local Ravens entertained us almost daily, especially in late October when one performed an impressive series of warbles that no one on the lookout had ever heard before. Strong northwest winds inspired 20 Ravens to move south along our ridge, November 3, 15 in one, strung-out group. Other interesting sightings included:

September  2  E. Wood Pewee, 2 Red-eyed Vireos, Yellow-throated 
                          Vireo, 2 Blue-gray Gnatcatchers, Warblers: Chestnut-
                          sided, Blackburnian, Prairie, Black-throated Green

                       3   3 Scarlet Tanagers

                       5   Red-breasted Nuthatch, E. Phoebe

                      6   Least Flycatcher, House Wren

                      8   2 Ovenbirds

                      9   17 Chimney Swifts (another 19 on the 20th)

                    12   E. Screech Owl heard

                    19   250 Tree Swallow, 112 D.C. Cormorants
(Denise Farrell)

                    21   2 E. Towhee

                    24   Olive-sided Flycatcher caught a bumblebee
                             and ate it!       
 (Carol Linguanti)

                    26   Yellow-rumped Warbler

                    29   Blue-headed Vireo

October        1   Ruby-crowned Kinglet

                       7   Field Sparrow, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (a male,
                               seen often through 11/10)

                     10   Chipping Sparrow

                     11   Pine Warbler

                     19   Dark-eyed Junco

                     20   White-throated Sparrow, 2 Purple Finch

                     22   Tree Sparrow   

                     24   30 Pine Siskins (621 counted by 11/14, biggest
                               day – 11/10 with 172 Siskins)

                     29   Hermit Thrush

                     30   2 Tundra Swans (Herb Stein)

November     2   21 C. Loons, 12 in one group (Tom Millard)

Leaders endured temperatures ranging from the 90’s to the low 20’s F., winds howling at 25 to 30 m/h and occasional drizzle, sleet and snow, but they never lost their enthusiasm. Carol Linguanti’s efforts on November 12 are a case in point: In spite of fog and drizzle and a very narrow migration window, she persisted and bagged our sole N. Goshawk and one more Golden Eagle. That spirit is owned by every one of our 13 leaders, but we can’t do it alone. Some very sharp-eyed and welcome visitors have helped boost our tallies and our spirits. We are grateful for our clean-up crew, Carole Baligh, Denise Farrell, Rick Hansen, Carol Linguanti, Tom Millard, Bill O’Keefe, Gaby Schmitt, Herb Stein, Gene Tappan, Ken Witkowski, and Matt Zeitler for ansenHHHbeating back the trees and shrubs that blocked our site lines and picking up months of accumulated litter around the platform. A special thanks to Tom for putting up and taking down our platform box. We are very grateful for the generous contribution from The Fyke Nature Association of Bergen County, NJ in support of our Mount Peter site on Hawkcount and for their continuing sponsorship. Our 57th season enables us to claim once again that we are the oldest, continually run, all–volunteer fall watch in the country.

2014 Results for 4 Regional Hawk Watches

10 Yerage

10-Year Average:  2003 to 2013

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