Monthly Archives: November 2013

Ashland Hawk Watch

By Kim Scotto

Howdy, nature lovers!

Have you ever been bird watching before? Can you imagine doing it almost every day for 3 months? That’s exactly what Kelley Nunn, the Delaware Nature Society’s Hawk Watch Coordinator, does! The Ashland Nature Center’s Hawk Watch program is one of about 250 hawk watches in North America, and we got to talk to Kelley and find out what it’s all about!

Kelley Nunn, Ashland's Hawk Watch Coordinator!

Kelley Nunn, Ashland’s Hawk Watch Coordinator!

So Kelley, what exactly is a Hawk Watch?

The Hawk Watch is exactly that- watching hawks and other raptors! As the weather gets colder there is less food available for these predatory birds, so in the months of September, October, and November, many raptors make the long flight south to spend the winter.  This movement south is called migration. It’s important for scientists to know where, when, why and how the birds migrate. So my job is to count the species and number of individuals we see traveling past Hawk Watch Hill at Ashland.

A Red-Tailed Hawk soaring past Hawk Watch Hill! Photo by Derek Stoner

A Red-Tailed Hawk soaring past Hawk Watch Hill. I bet you can guess how this species got its name! Photo by Derek Stoner

What other kinds of data do you collect at Hawk Watch?

We look at the height of flight of the birds for important wind turbine studies. We also measure the temperature, wind speed, and cloud coverage on an hourly basis. Each species of raptor has its own ideal flying conditions, so during the warmer months like September, we will see different types of birds than in mid-November!

So what type of raptors are we most likely to see this time of year?

In November you’re going to see Vultures, Red-tailed Hawks, and Bald Eagles. You also might see Northern Goshawks, Rough-legged Hawks, or even Golden Eagles!

The Bald Eagle- America's national bird! Photo by Derek Stoner.

The Bald Eagle- America’s national bird! Photo by Derek Stoner.

How can kids get involved?

Kids can come to the Hawk Watch daily between 9AM and 4PM to learn about birding! No experience is necessary, and Ashland can provide binoculars. I think it’s really great for kids to get into birding. Bring a picnic lunch and your family (dogs more than welcome!) and spend an afternoon being a citizen scientist!

A beautiful day up at Hawk Watch Hill!

A beautiful day up at Hawk Watch Hill! Photo by Kelley Nunn.

 

Ashland’s Hawk Watch runs daily until November 30th, from 9AM-4PM.

Meet Kelley and learn more about these fascinating migratory birds!

Don’t forget to bundle up! Photo by Kim Scotto

 

Introducing the New Interns!

By Kim Scotto

Greetings nature lovers! We are Kim Scotto and Hannah Greenberg, the environmental education interns at the Delaware Nature Society for the 2013-2014 year! Here’s your place to “Ask a Naturalist” nature questions, keep updated on seasonal activity in the natural world, and check out what kids like you have been doing at our Delaware Nature Society sites. Our “Program Spotlight” lets you know of ways that YOU can get involved with US!

But first, allow us to introduce ourselves with some fun facts:

Fun fact #1: We love snakes!

Here is Kim with Ashland's  Corn Snake!

Here is Kim with Ashland’s Corn Snake! Photo by Hannah Greenberg

Here is Hannah with a garter snake that she found while out on a hike! Taken by Carrie Scheick

Here is Hannah with a garter snake that she found while out on a hike! Photo by Carrie Scheick

But wait- aren’t snakes dangerous? No, not usually. Neither of the snakes that we are holding are venomous, but some snakes can have bites that range from plain painful to deadly! The only venomous snake in Delaware is the Copperhead, but it is rarely encountered.  Remember; don’t pick up a snake you find out in the wild unless you’re with an adult who knows their snakes! Both Hannah and Kim have been trained in how to handle these cold-blooded creatures. We think they’re just fascinating!

Fun fact #2: We love the fall!

We love taking hikes in autumn and looking at the beautiful changing leaves. Now is the perfect time of year to take a walk around Ashland Nature Center and look at the gorgeous colors. Here are some pictures from Ashland this autumn!

The gorgeous view from Ashland's Hawk Watch Hill. Check back soon to learn about our Hawk Watch program!

The gorgeous view from Ashland’s Hawk Watch Hill. Check back soon to learn about our Hawk Watch program! Photo by Joe Sebastiani

Hannah playing in the leaves! Photo by Kim Scotto

Hannah playing in the leaves! Photo by Kim Scotto

Fall is also a great time of year to observe Kim’s favorite native wild animal- the Eastern Gray Squirrel! In November, these acrobatic mammals are hard at work burying nuts and acorns to eat later on in the winter when food isn’t as easy to find. Did you know that many oak trees are grown from acorns that squirrels buried and then forgot about?

Kim's favorite native animal is the Eastern Gray Squirrel! Photo by Joe Sebastiani

Kim’s favorite native animal is the Eastern Gray Squirrel! Photo by Joe Sebastiani

Fun fact #3: We just LOVE nature! And we hope we have that in common with YOU!

Kim just LOVES nature! Photo by Hannah Greenberg

Kim just LOVES nature! Photo by Hannah Greenberg

We can’t wait to get to know you as we share our adventures in nature! In the comments section of this blog, tell us your favorite thing about the fall, and be sure to check in often to see what’s happening at the Delaware Nature Society.