Hawk Watch Report December 2022

Juvenile Bald Eagle by Mike Moore.

The Cape Henlopen Hawk Watch had a total of 8,762 migrants for the 2022 season. It was the highest season count at Henlopen since 2014. During the last two weeks of November vultures were moving through daily. A high of 35 Turkey Vultures were seen on both November 17 and 23. On November 17, a high of 16 Black Vultures was recorded. A late season push of 20 eagles on November 29 gave us a new season high count of Bald Eagles with a total of 656. One Golden Eagle was recorded on November 16, bringing the total to 4 for the season. A Northern Goshawk flew over from Cape May on November 21, which brought the total for the season to 4 goshawks. It was a good year for goshawks as we have not seen them on migration since 2018.

A few rare birds were also observed in late November including Red Crossbill, Dovekie, Pacific Loon and Lapland Longspur. Small flocks of Red Crossbills flew over several times during the last week of the count. A Dovekie was seen rapidly flying south low over the water on November 29. A Pacific Loon was observed on November 30 sitting on the ocean with a large number of Red-throated Loons. The nearby Red-throated Loons provided a great comparison to help identify the loon. A Lapland Longspur flew over the platform on November 29 giving its rattle call. Longspurs are occasionally recorded at the hawk watch in November.

Migrant raptor totals for 2022:
Black Vulture – 271
Turkey Vulture – 1,156
Osprey – 1,872
Bald Eagle – 656
Northern Harrier – 271
Sharp-shinned Hawk – 2,181
Cooper’s Hawk – 462

Northern Goshawk – 4
Red-shouldered Hawk – 20
Broad-winged Hawk – 42
Red-tailed Hawk – 108
Golden Eagle – 4
American Kestrel – 1,159
Merlin –319
Peregrine Falcon – 212
Unidentified – 25
Total: 8,762

Jen Ottinger

The Ashland Hawk Watch 2022 season finished at the end of November. A record 20,882 migrating raptors were counted this season. In November, 3,326 raptors were counted during 197 hours of observation. The month started out unseasonably warm, but counts remained steady with moderate flights of Turkey Vultures and Buteos. Moderate northerly winds on November 8th brought the highest daily total of the month with 422 migrants, including 3 Golden Eagles. The ten Golden Eagles seen in November brought the season total to thirteen which is above average.

Golden Eagle on 8 Nov 2022.

A juvenile Northern Goshawk was photographed soaring high overhead on November 9th. This is the first goshawk at Ashland since the 2016 season.

Northern Goshawk on 9 Nov 2022.

Non-raptor highlights included a flock of 17 Evening Grosbeaks on November 10th and 62 Tundra Swans on November 19th.

I would like to say a big thank you to all of the volunteers and visitors who contributed to making this hawk watch season successful.

David Brown