Someday (on my buck list) I'm going to make it to one of the popular hawk migration sites, but until then I'll continue to enjoy local hawk migration sites such as Squaw Peak Lookout above Provo, Utah. I joined a small group of Utah County birders September 29th for a hawk watch and thrilled at the sights of all three accipiter species, Red-tailed Hawks, and Golden Eagles making their way southward along the ridges. We enjoyed watching one Cooper's Hawk rise from the trees in the hillside below us, catch a thermal, and soar right before our eyes. The hawk rose slowly and circled in front of and above us as if it wanted to make a lasting impression, which it did. I could see that its crop was full and it was fueled for the next segment of its migration. It rose higher and higher and then ended the gentle looping with a direct flight southward along the ridge.
|Migrating Cooper's Hawk Provo, Utah|
Last November I happened to photograph my first Harlan's Hawk (subspecies of Red-tailed Hawk), without even knowing it at the time, in a location we refer to locally as Point of the Mountain. It was Jerry Liguori, raptor expert and author, who confirmed the Harlan's ID when I shared some images with him. Once Jerry confirmed the ID and I shared the sighting with the local birding community raptor watchers descended upon the location and multiple Harlan's Hawks were observed throughout the winter. Point of the Mountain is a plateau at about 5100' and sits between the borders of Salt Lake and Utah Counties. It is also the location for the Utah State Flight Recreation Area which is used by hang gliders, para gliders, and hunting raptors because of the thermals rising from the hillsides and open fields below.
|Juvenile Harlan's Hawk at Point of the Mountain Lehi, Utah|
|Light Adult Harlan's' Hawk American Fork, Utah|
|Light Adult Harlan's Hawk American Fork, Utah|
|Prairie Falcon Below Traverse Ridge in Lehi, Utah|
|Adult Prairie Falcon at Utah State Flight Recreation Area Above Point of the Mountain Utah County, Utah|
|Bald Eagle (under overcast sky) at Lindon Marina in Lindon, Utah|
|Bald Eagle near Panguitch, Utah|
|Rough-legged Hawk on Antelope Island State Park Causeway Davis County, Utah|
|This Merlin made Pleasant Grove, Utah its winter home in 2011|
|Ferruginous Hawk near Beryl Junction, Utah|
|Adult Sharp-shinned Hawk Having it Meal Pleasant Grove, Utah|