Yesterday, New Year's Eve, Ron Payne and I were concluding a long day of
owling and birding the Northern Monkton Sector of the Hinesburg CBC
circle. Twilight was near so we decided to do one more trip around the
sector to see if any birds were moving to roosts. Along Mountain Road
paralleling Hogback Mountain we noticed a few robins flying across the
road in the direction of woods occupying lowlands lining the base of the
mountain, so we stopped to count the birds as they crossed the road.
Ron and I do a lot of bird counting together so we went into automatic
count mode ... each of us independently counting in silence. Wave after
wave of robins crossed the road likely to assemble in the night's roost
at the base of the steep slopes of Hogback. For 20 minutes we counted
in silence. Then, a few birds started flying in the opposite direction,
so it was time to stop the count.
Ron asked for my total number of robins .... "3500 by 10s" said I.
"What was your count?" Ron responded "3500 by 10s". As we drove away to
meet with the other CBC birders we came upon another few hundred robins
still on the move.
On Friday early afternoon a brief squall of turbulent air rolled over
Snake Mountain spilling showers of grauple (snow pellets) across the
Lemon Fair flats of Weybridge as I turned onto Lemon Fair Road busy with
an errand. Looked up at the grumpy skies and saw a large bird riding in
turbulence just above some trees. Quickly discerned it to be an adult
Bald Eagle, now beginning to soar in the squall's thermal uplift.
That's when I saw a smaller, more sleek bird soaring a hundred feet
above the Eagle.
With binocs I confirmed the not-so-small aviator to be a beautifully
lit, adult Northern Goshawk, wings extended in maximum-lift
configuration. Watched the pair of raptors as they circled with wings
outstretched, without flapping, ever gaining altitude. In less than 3-4
minutes the Eagle was up to 800-900 feet and climbing still. The
Goshawk? ... The Goshawk, obviously the more efficient soarer, was
circling in and out of the filmy bases of the clouds and swirls of
grauple over 2000 feet in altitude.