Monday, September 30, 2019

EXPLORE NEW BRUNSWICK: Greenlaw Mountain Hawk Watch, Charlotte County, NB

E. Farlow, J. Wilson, N. Hawkins viewing from the Top

FROM: Kennebecasis Naturalist Society - Greenlaw Mountain Hawk Watch 2014

Colin Pyette and I drove to Charlotte County to try our luck as observers for the Greenlaw Mountain Hawk Watch. From Sussex it's a approximately an hour and 50 minute drive to the base of the mountain, located just outside St. Andrews, and a 50 minute climb (at least for us) to the observation site. It was well worth the climb for the view alone!

We spent the next four and a half hours with some very experienced birders: Jim Wilson (well known New Brunswick birder and past president of the NB Bird Records Committee), Hank Scarth (avid naturalist and past chairman of the NB Wildlife Council), Todd Watts (Project Coordinator and Official Counter for GMHW), plus two knowledgeable local observers. All these participants, quite frankly, amazed both Colin and me with their ability to not only spot these raptors from a great distance but their skill in identifying them at those distances.

Though the majority of the birds soared at quite a distance from our observation point several flew impressively low and their proximity to the group was much appreciate by all.
  • During our stay we observed the following species:
  • Bald Eagle
  • Turkey Vulture
  • Sharp-shinned Hawk
  • Broad-wing Hawk
  • American Kestrel
  • Osprey
  • Downey Woodpecker
  • American Goldfinch
  • Nuthatch
  • Raven
  • Common Loon
For future reference I would only recommend those reasonably fit for this outing. It's a good narrow dirt road but has a couple of relatively steep sections in it with loose gravel under foot. An active person, with no physical disabilities, could likely do it in 35 minutes. We debated on whether or not to bring up our collapsible chairs and, after reaching the observation site, were very glad to have made the decision to leave them behind. There are several rock ledges to sit and rest on and lugging the chairs up that incline, in my opinion, would have been unnecessary. We were told to dress in layers and that proved to be very beneficial for the winds where substantially different between the bottom and top of the mountain. A spotting scope, along with binoculars, is a must for this outing.

I can honestly say that I observed more hawks on this outing than I've seen in total over my life time. It was an eye opener for me for I had no idea that such a place existed in New Brunswick. Todd Watt's knowledge and his ability to identify these birds so quickly was both amazing and humbling. He was also pleased to share what he had learned over the past 5 years on the top of that mountain. It was an enjoyable outing and I would recommend it to all outdoor enthusiasts.

Broad-wing Hawk
H.Scarth, T.Watts, C.Pyette, N.Hawkins

M.Macaulay, T.Watts, C.Pyette, N.Hawkins
Thanks to Mark M. for the report and photos. The bottom two photos were by Jim Wilson

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