Trip report by Diane Aaronson. Tuesday, October 11, 2022 was foggy in the valley, but clear and sunny at the DOAS Sanctuary where twenty-eight hikers gathered at the barn. We then headed up to the observation station where Sandy Bright spoke to us about the annual Hawkwatch event and gave us tips for identifying hawks in flight. Spotters or counters search the skies for migrating raptors, including Black and Turkey Vultures, Osprey, Bald and Golden Eagles, various hawks, American Kestrels, Peregrine Falcons and others. Sandy and the spotter, Peter, explained that certain birds are more likely to be seen during particular weeks in early to late fall, and wind from the north or northwest are best for migrating birds. For more information see: https://doas.us/research/franklin-mountain-hawkwatch/
Local birds such as blue jays, chickadees, crows and waterfowl can be seen from various trails at the sanctuary. The views of the valley and beyond were especially beautiful with the fall foliage. We headed up the yellow trail for even better views and then walked through some woods and back out to the Hawkwatch station. Some of the group headed back to their cars and the rest of us walked the blue trail through the woods and the red trail through the wetlands, where we saw a blue heron take off from the water. The three trails combined for approximately a 2-mile hike. We are lucky to have this sanctuary close by and October 11th was splendid fall morning, although not the best wind for hawk migration.
Group photo and pond photo by Jennifer Hyypio.
Other photos by Janice Downie and Betsy O’Brien.