The yearly migration of North American raptors is underway! Come up and enjoy this fall ritual as it plays out as it has for millennia.
Begun in 1995, the Mount Pisgah Hawk Watch is a volunteer effort to census the migrating raptors passing through our little slice of paradise. Join experienced hawk counters for a few hours or all day. If the weather and the birds cooperate (and there are certainly no guarantees for either!) you will be able to see many different species of migrating hawks, falcons, eagles, and vultures. It really is an amazing natural phenomenon.
We set up at the Mills River Valley overlook on the BRP, which is almost exactly 10 miles south of the Bent Creek entrance to the Parkway. Note: Don't let the name fool you! This is several miles north of Mt. Pisgah, so don't go there looking for us!
PLEASE consider carpooling as much as possible!!!
We'll be at the overlook conducting the watch from 9 AM til about 5 PM both Saturday and Sunday. You can come any time during the day, and stay as long as you like. The Mountains-To-Sea trail runs right through this overlook, so you may want to form up a group and go for an impromptu hike, so bring your boots! :-)
Historically the best viewing times are 10 AM - noon and 2 PM - 4 PM. Lunch time is usually relatively slow, as are the very early and very late hours. Migrant songbirds move well along this ridge up until 930 or 10 AM.
The Monarch migration is also happening right now, and this is a great overlook for seeing Monarchs.
How many might you see? The site record count for one day is 2549 hawks (Sept 24, 2011). Yes, 2,549 hawks in one day. Again, there is no guarantee that we will see that many, but the weather and the calendar seem to indicate that next weekend should see a fair to excellent flight.
What to bring: SUNGLASSES. Sunglasses are the most important item, so don't leave home without them! Chair (yeah...this isn't really a hike!), water, snacks. Sunscreen. Hat with a wide brim. If you have or can borrow binoculars, any kind, bring them. If you don't have any, or if yours are not so good, I will have a few loaners. Cameras? Sure, to take photos of AHG members having a great time, but unless you have amazing telephoto capability you probabaly won't be close enough to any hawks to get a decent photograph.