While I was hanging out in the Catskills yesterday, I met up with Judy and Rosie from NJ. Judy runs the hawk watch at Mount Peter. As the 3rd oldest hawk watch (after Hawk Mountain and Montclair) it is run entirely by volunteers. She asked me if I could pop over for a work detail to cut down small trees and bushes that were impinging the view of the skies from the hawk watch platform. Being Labor Day Monday, she was concerned that she would not have a full crew (Mount Peter is only 15 minutes from my house and she also promised ice cream. So, hey.) With a bucket full of loppers, saws, clippers and gloves, I showed up at 9:30 ready to go.
There were quite a few people already repairing the platform when I got there. With hammering in the background, we started to cut any small trees and gather garbage and beer cans from under the bushes. As I wandered knee-deep in highbush blueberries, goldenrod, raspberry bushes and wild mountain asters, I cut down oak, pignut, and tree of heaven saplings. The sun shone from a cloudless sky, yet it was cool in the shade. The virginia creeper spiraled crimson up the cedars and the wild grapes hung heavy with the its sour fruit. The blueberry bushes were full of hard green blueberries. I made a mental note to check on their progress next time I came up.
Suddenly there came a shout, the hammering stopped and all eyes looked skyward. Our first hawk flew south. It was a Broadwing. It’s disapperance was met with a cheer. As the day progressed, we had resident Red-tails swirling over the valley, Turkey Vultures loafing on the microwave tower, Hummingbirds buzzing overhead and 1 monarch butterfly floating past. I am looking forward to spending more time on the platform this year. Hawk watching season has officially started running from Sept 1 through mid November. Come on over and hang out.