Monday, November 4th, started routinely at 7:30 with a calm, blue sky and 32° temperature. A heavy frost glistened on weeds and bushes making everything look magical. A Cooper’s Hawk sat low in a Walnut tree by the driveway hoping for a meal before starting its day’s work – migrating. We, seven of us, saw our first large flocks of migrating Red-winged Blackbirds this fall. Lingering flocks of Cedar Waxwings flew over the pond looking for fruit. An early northern visitor, a Slate-colored Junco, warmed itself in a Maple in front of the brick cottage. White-throated Sparrows sang their “Old Sam Peabody” songs from deep within their bushy hiding places. A Hermit Thrush raised and lowered its cinnamon tail in an Autumn Olive by the pond. As we arrived at the back wetland field we were greeted by many expected Yellow-rumped Warblers which dived erratically into the Bayberry bushes. At 9:30 we spotted our first raptor, a Red-shouldered Hawk. Not too surprising as there have been a pair in the back corner of this field on and off for a few years. But it didn’t stay, it glided off to the southeast. And then another. It flew straight in the same direction. They were migrating! But one of our members was looking in the opposite direction. He suddenly exclaimed “an Eagle, the other Eagle”. (He didn’t want to say the “G” word). We all saw the bird for a few seconds so we discussed our impressions. Our conclusion – a Golden Eagle. We didn’t have to wait long to have our conclusion verified. A large eagle appeared over the tree line. To our astonishment it soared overhead for 20 minutes. All got good looks at its white tail band, white wing patches, and small head and beak. It finally soared off to the southeast. This was a “life bird” for three of our members and a first ever sighting at Fairview Farm. It was also the first new addition to our Fairview Farm Bird Checklist. By the time the morning was over we tallied 21 raptors; one Golden Eagle, six Red-shouldered Hawks, eight Red-tailed Hawks, two Cooper’s Hawks, and four Sharp-shinned Hawks.
If this wasn’t enough, I received an email from the director of education, who went out to sit on a bench in the same field, that she listened to two Barred Owls calling each other. What a RAPTORPALOOZA!!!