This weekend my cousin paid us an impromptu visit, and to make the most of her brief stay we decided we'd take a day trip up to New Hampshire and hike Pack Monadnock (little brother to the Mount Monadnock I climbed last summer). When we reached the summit we were surprised to find a naturalist poised at the edge of a rocky outcropping, scanning the skies with single-minded concentration.
It turned out he was a graduate student working for the New Hampshire Audubon, monitoring this particular spot on the southward journey migrating raptors. How often would he be at his post? "Every day until Halloween," he said, with an expression of contented bliss.
We were impressed to see he'd already counted four bald eagles that day, and he told us he'd recently seen a passing flock of some type of hawk (broad winged? I can't remember) numbering about 500 birds. Though on our way up we saw a single red-tailed hawk kiting above us, suspended motionless in the air, and that in itself was pretty spectacular, too.