I spent all day today as a volunteer hawk counter at Sandy Hook. A few of us volunteer each year to give the paid hawk counter a few days off. Unfortunately, it was a bit of a slow day as far as hawks go. A good migration day means winds out of the southwest or south to push the birds to the coast, but the winds today were easterly. Hawk numbers were low, but I made the best of a gorgeous day.
Here's a sample of the gorgeous view from the hawk watch platform. Today was exceptionally clear and you could see New York quite well. That's the Empire State Building on the left there. I used the panoramic mode on my camera to take this really cool picture (3 MB download).
The white flowers above are beach plums in full bloom. They will have fruit in the fall and I hear it makes a great jam. I tried eating one raw and found it pretty sour.
Ospreys, Red-winged Blackbirds, Eastern Towhees, Tree Swallows, and Barn Swallows kept me company all day while waiting for the raptors. My total numbers for the day were 2 Sharp-shinned Hawks, 3 Cooper's Hawks, 1 Red-tailed Hawk, 20 Turkey Vultures, and 2 Black Vultures. I've had a run of bad luck in my times as a volunteer hawk counter. I hope that one of these days I will volunteer and see a monumental hawk flight!