Common Nighthawks

2 09 2010

Late August seems to be about the peak of nighthawk migration through Connecticut. It’s something I look forward to every year for two reasons. One nighthawks are tough to see almost any other time of the year in Connecticut and two these birds are just too cool.

Fall migration always seems to see them much more concentrated into groups and more prone to hanging around for some proper viewing time instead of the usual just catching them whizzing by overhead (although I have encountered large groups in spring at a couple of reliable locations).In spring they do make that cool booming sound with their wings but personally I’ll take the sheer weight of numbers in fall.

There have been decent numbers at Quaker Ridge the last week, highlights including a day with at least 150 birds as well as a couple of individuals that were flying around the watch in the late morning last week. Highlight though was Friday evening when we were treated to over forty of them streaming over the site. I later I tracked them down to the Nicholl Preserve, a Greenwich owned property just down by I684, and was lucky enough to stumble on a large group of them feasting on a flying ant hatchout. Hard to beat this for a magical experience: a warm late August evening with a stunning sunset developing while a group of these incredible aerial acrobats soared, banked and turned in rapid pursuit of their insect prey all against the backdrop of a stunning golden field, lit up in a late summer evening glow – breathtaking.

Keep your eyes peeled, they are probably out and about near you as well.



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