Text and photos by Jessica Taylor
The past few weeks at the Manzano Mountains HawkWatch have been very exciting. It started out with four consecutive weather days right as peak migration was kicking off. The team was worried we were going to miss all the birds as we headed down the mountain. We would like to give a huge thanks to Erik and Judy Rigler for their hospitality during this time. Luckily, the raptors seemed to have waited for us and our biggest count days were right after the storms.
Almost 500 raptors were counted several days in a row and we beat the all-time banding record in the blind with 62 birds in one day. One of the biggest highlights was observing a variable hawk, a South American raptor. We also had several "firsts" for this year at the banding station, including a Broad-winged Hawk, a Swainson's Hawk, and a Golden Eagle. We observe the fall colors fading, and bundle up with more clothes everyday--even Camp Dog Zoe has pulled out her scarf.
The crew will be counting and banding until early November so there is still plenty of time to visit and we would love to see you up there!