Text and photos by Tucker Davidson
The 20th season of the Chelan Ridge HawkWatch is off to a great start! The crew this year consists of 3 Chelan Ridge veterans and 2 rookies.
Jessica Taylor is excited for a prosperous year on the ridge and believes that this year, in particular, is going to be a fantastic year for witnessing Sasquatch migrating south out of the North Cascades to relocate to his warmer, winter abode.
TC Walker agrees with Jessica and is also excited to share hawks with someone who has never had the opportunity to observe hawks or any wildlife up close and states the following as his personal motto for the season: “Changing lives one Sharpie at a time”.
Tucker Davidson is, for a second consecutive year, hopeful to record Chelan Ridge’s first ever Gyrfalcon sighting and is just as excited (if not more) about getting the chance to wear all of his sweet thrift store sweaters.
Jessica Buskirk (Jessie) comes to the project for the first time as an experienced black bear biologist, but she is excited to see some new birds and learn some new skills.
Dwight Jones (DJ) is also a new face to the project this season and is excited to ramp up his bird list with a Swainson’s hawk, a Prairie falcon, and the phantom Northern Goshawk.
So far this season, our crew has recorded all 3 species of Accipiters, Red-tailed Hawk, Northern Harrier, Turkey Vulture, Merlin, Prairie Falcon, and American Kestrel heading south for the winter. But this year’s early excitement has been the unique assortment of the Chelan Ridge avian residents. The crew has been accompanied on the ridge by several resident Peregrine Falcons, an acrobatic, male American Kestrel, and a handful of feisty Sharp-shinned Hawks; the real eye-catcher this season has been a recently fledged, partially leucistic Turkey Vulture that hangs out next to Obs. If there has ever been an omen for a record year of migrating raptors, and possibly even a wandering Gyrfalcon, it’s this young, speckled TUVU.
So come on up to the Chelan Ridge HawkWatch to see some migrating raptors, meet some killer biologists, and witness a record-breaking year of hawkwatching in the beautiful North Cascades!