September is upon us and that means the start of the annual Scott’s Mountain Hawk Watch at Merrill Creek Reservoir (MCR)! The “Scott’s Mountain” Hawk Watch, with its easy access and impressive number of raptors (Hawks, Eagles, Falcons, Osprey, Vultures) counted each Fall, is a must visit during the hawk migration season. Volunteers gather at the Merrill Creek Reservoir’s Inlet/Outlet Tower parking lot, located off of Fox Farm Road, during migration season to count hawks as they pass overhead. The raptors will migrate from late summer through the end of November with peak numbers expected from mid-September through mid-October. Historically, the days with the most number of birds are those following a cold front with northerly winds. Since the start of the Hawk watch 16 different species of raptors have been seen over MCR, not to mention other migrant birds including nighthawks, waterfowl, and neotropical songbirds! So far the record number of a single species counted in one day at the Scott’s Mountain Hawk Watch at MCR was a staggering 18,000 broad-winged hawks! The data that is gathered each year is compiled and submitted to the Hawk Migration Association of North America (HMANA).
The hawk watch happens every day at MCR through November at the I/O Tower Parking Lot and new volunteers and/or causal observers are always welcome! Results are posted daily and monthly totals can be found here: