Friday, September 5, 2014

Who's Migrating Now and What's To Come!

Common Nighthawk
Common Nighthawk

Common Nighthawk

Don and our Corgi, Abby, watching for nighthawks from our deck.

We live in southern New Hampshire and the Common Nighthawk migration through here has been spectacular. We are lucky because nighthawks migrate past our deck since they often follow river corridors and our property fronts on a dammed up section of a river. We have seen over 2,000 nighthawks so far. Nighthawks are listed as endangered in our state and their populations nationwide are in decline so it's very rewarding to see them in such numbers here.

Ruby-throated Hummingbirds and other hummingbirds are migrating now. This is a female who was feeding on our Salvia "Lady in Red" flowers in a planter on our deck. Soon they will be gone from our area. Hate to see them go.

Semipalmated Plover

Western Sandpiper

Shorebirds are still migrating. Check Coastal and other water areas in your favorite birding locations and see who you can find.

What is to come next?

Broad-winged Hawks in a "kettle" (juv. left, adult, right) on a rising thermal of air.

Hawk migration is about to happen. This is one of our favorite birding activities and we spend the fall at Pack Monadnock Raptor Migration Observatory in southern NH. The big push of Broad-winged Hawks occurs from about Sept. 10 to 20th in our area. On a favorable day with thermals and mild NW winds we can see thousands in a day. Other raptors such as Cooper's and Sharp-shinned Hawks, Northern Harriers, Merlins, Red-shouldered and Red-tailed Hawks, American Kestrels and eagles will continue migrating through much of the fall. 

Photo above is from our newest field guide, The Stokes Essential Pocket Guide to the Birds of North America, coming Oct. 14th! This pocket sized guide covers 250 species with beautiful large photos. In a few instances there are composite photos, such as the above one of the Broad-winged Hawks, which I photographed from Pack Monadnock. The book will be great for beginning and intermediate birders, and even non-birders! 

Happy fall bird migration watching everyone!

Lillian Stokes


  1. Lovely lovely photos Lillian! I would love to see those Common Nighthawks flying over:) But I'm happy with our Lessers:)

  2. Chris we have seen Lessers in AZ and they were wonderful!

  3. Your raptor migration must be spectacular! It would be great to see all those Common Nighthawks too. Good luck with the book.

  4. Oh what a spectacular experience it must be to see so many raptors in one day! Love the nighthawks ... great photos! I've never been able to get a decent shot of one of those quick-flying birds. Beautiful images of the birds you have seen recently!