Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Hawk Watching Fun Peaks in October - November

By Marie Majarov
Majarov Photography
This excerpt is from the DGIF Outdoor Report for October 

If you and your family are looking for exciting outdoor fall adventures, consider hawk watching! Virginia has some of the best locations along the east coast to view migrating raptors"Hawk Watching Across Virginia," Virginia Wildlife MagazineSeptember 2011, will help you become familiar with our Commonwealth's rich opportunities for seeing magnificent birds of prey.

Peak hawk watching happens early September through late November as thousands of birds make their way from Northern breeding grounds to wintering areas across Mexico and the tropics of Central and South America. Northern Harriers, Sharp Shinned Hawks, Cooper's Hawks, Northern Goshawks, Red-tailed and Red-Shouldered Hawks, Broad-winged Hawks, Rough-legged Hawks, American Kestrels, Merlins and Peregrine Falcons can all be seen. You might also sight Bald and Golden Eagles, Osprey, and Vultures.

As you read this article huge numbers of migrants are tracing their way along our mountain ridges and coastline. One of the most outstanding spots this year is Snickers Gap in the Northern Blue Ridge between Winchester and Leesburg whererecord numbers of Broad-winged Hawks, over 38,000, have already been counted in the month of September! At theKiptopeke Hawk Watch on the Delmarva big numbers of American Kestrels, Sharp-shins, Merlins, and Peregrines are being viewed.

When you are first learning about hawk identification and their travel patterns and thermals it is a good idea to choose one of the official sites all of which have counters and experts who are very willing to share their skills to help you learn.Read about raptors with your family, then grab some binoculars, folding chairs, dress for the weather, and get out there and enjoy the spectacular show that is going on over our heads!

Marie Majarov is a Virginia Master Naturalist and member of both the Virginia and Mason-Dixon Outdoor Writers Associations. She and her husband Milan are retired Clinical Psychologists, nature enthusiasts, living in Winchester where they maintain a butterfly garden and bluebird trail at their home in Winchester, VA. Inspiring children, both young and old, about the wonders of nature and encouraging the preservation of our precious natural resources is their dream for Majarov Photography. More about their work can be seen at

Learn more about the Virginia Master Naturalist Program hereGet involved in something cool, the BFRAL Chapter next basic training will be held at The Franklin Center in Downtown Rocky Mount beginning March 2012, feel free to email us for more details:

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