This week I started the migration watch on Sandy Hook, NJ. I did this count two years ago, when I exposed myself to what seems in retrospect to have been two months of rain and cold with biting east winds coming right off the Atlantic, and long stretches with no birds. Already I feel like this year is going to be different, because today, on what's only the third day of the count, I was able to be on the platform in T-shirt. And there were even some birds to be seen, like this rather pale Red-tailed Hawk.
Best bird today was this immature Bald Eagle. These days a fairly common sight at many hawk watches, but for the Hook still a pretty good bird. Seasonal totals here run between 10 and 20 for this species.
Accipiters (like this Cooper's Hawk) are more numerous at this site.
This is the time for Red-shouldered Hawks to migrate through. Sandy Hook being a peninsular site, many buteos of course don't make the crossing. Today I did see a few going high enough for a serious attempt.
Interesting non-hawks this week included an Iceland Gull on the North Beach and an immature male Common Eider on the bay side, across from the bird observatory's office. Northern Gannets are curiously absent.