Mt. Peter Hawk Watch is volunteer run. And am I honored to be among those who will stand on the platform with bins trained to the skies in eager anticipation of the river of raptor that will soon flow south to Mexico and beyond. Every year at the beginning of the season we all get together to trim back the brush that has seemingly sprung forth from out of nowhere since last fall, chat about birds we are seeing and generally get caught up.
When I arrived at Mt. Peter the clean-up was well underway. I picked my way down the slope with pruners over my shoulder to tackle the trees and shrubs that were getting out of hand. We had done such a thorough job last year, I was sure this was going to be a snap. And while it was less work, there was still plenty to do.
Judy Cinquina is the driving force behind getting the hawk watch organized. Not only does she solicit volunteers, but pulls together a calendar, makes packets of information, wields a mighty clipper, rallies us, has an easy laugh and has been know to bribe us with ice cream.
I also love that birders come from both NJ and NY to be part of the count.
Dripping with sweat and plastered with bits of leaves, wood chips and heavens knows what; I reached into a tangle to tug a branch out of the way to find… raspberries. Ripe Black Raspberries. Oodles of them. Mmmm, natural snacks warmed by the sun.
The other cool thing I found while I was down and dirty with the goldenrod was a gorgeous butterfly.
I hope you get the opportunity to take part in a hawk watch this year. If you can’t find one, you can always come hang out with us.