HawkArtScience: Hawksaloft.com blog

19 September 2016

On Saturday, 20 August 2016, a large dispersal flight of juvenile “hawks” traces on this velocity radar snapshot. Pre-frontal conditions with straight S winds keep the birds right along Lake Ontario from Oswego eastward to Derby Hill, releasing from the water’s edge, turning NE along the lowlands and shoulder of the Tug Hill plateau looking just like an ideal day in Spring. 

Historically, Big Day austral flights such as this one happen around this date and can be counted on for two thousand birds (at Braddock Bay).


Using the Tug Hill Radar Station (TYX) and Aviation Data Systems’ MyRadar app, I took iPhone screenshots. With velocity radar, movement toward the radar unit from any direction shows as green, while motion away from the station is red. A mix of the two, is often a point of stormy conditions. I also captured a three-hour desktop animation using NCAR.org reflectivity mode (not attached).

Spring hawk migration is visible on NEXRAD on many occasions with tracks of birds lighting up the radar from Lake Erie to the St. Lawrence River, late March into May. On the other hand, the Lake Ontario austral movement* leaves only one, short radar trail, on only one day… if that. So, I made my image from 2 screenshots, over time, end to end. 

This late Summer radar composite is easily recognized as the prefrontal signature for visible hawks at Derby Hill, at any time. In other words, settled science.
[* The northbound austral/dispersal flight of fresh-plumaged juvenile hawks runs from late July through September and consists primarily of Redtails with Broadwings and northern population Bald Eagles, plus just about every other eastern species nesting south of the Lake represented.]

Hawks on NEXRAD

The history of hawkwatching is the history of where the hawkwatchers are, not the hawks.
   Pete Dunne… well, you know

This old flight of wisdom was offered up at the C-View Inn after some pitchers of cheap beer* and rounds of the C-View’s signature hamburger pizza, in square tins.
[* was there any other kind of beer in the 80s]

NEXRAD has been met by the aforementioned hawkwatchers with disinterest, mostly. If Old Testament guys can’t see it, it don’t count. Fast forward to the 21st Century where we have Bill Evans’ Old Bird new technology and eBird w/sonograms, anew. In the 60s, as a new birder, I was told you couldn’t check off a bird if you only heard it. My retort was, some see it and still get it wrong. Nowadays birds unseen and even unheard by the human ear count, as we have software for that. As if the Higgs boson was a bird… actually, just like that.

NEXRAD is a new chapter; writing new history. New history happens when the hawk flight is elsewhere. Seen, yet unseen.

In scientific inquiry, the criterion of what is taken to be settled, or to be knowledge, is being so settled that it is available as a resource in further inquiry…
   John Dewey, philosopher… not the librarian

NEXRAD Bonus Round: 2015 Austral Flight
An inland movement of young Redtails, et al. traces from S of Oswego across the Tug Hill.

Click on the image for a wider view and some details...


In Other News...

The Simpsons (S23:E12; 9 March ’14) had a DNA and falconry thread involving Bart and Diggs, the new kid at Springfield Elementary (voiced by Daniel Radcliffe -- Harry Potter in the movies, based on JK Rowling books).

Of course, the writers did their homework: so Diggs, the young falconer, has mental health issues. And Bart sets all the falcons free in the end! But the great moment comes with the Trekkie-falconer's reply to his bird’s repeating his master’s lines and making a “rawwkk” call with, “You are NOT a parrot.” 

If Galileo had said in verse that the world moved, 
the Inquisition might have let him alone.
  Thomas Hardy, Novelist & Poet

They've got the urge for going, and
they've got the wings so they can go.

— Joni Mitchell

Hawk•art•science blog
Truth and beauty. Art and science. Entries here will be on that flightline, although I will stray from the hawk-part on occasion, or will I? I aiming this beast at hawkheads and/or the young seasonal revolutionary biologists. It's for the flexible and young-at-heart too.
Comments, questions, excited utterances, and/or exasperated afterthoughts from you, dear reader, are welcome and will receive a reply. — Tom Carrolan
(Image above: "Recent self-portrait No.3, 2009")

Original recipe Hawksaloft.com
The Hawksaloft.com website was launched in 1997, following three years of printed handbills, plus numerous emails, all voicing my alt.hawkwatching ideas in New England. If you've been here before, the original site is archived in all its old-timey graphic glory. To navigate the old way, just click on Psychedelia the Hawk Owl and be transported back in time... trippy. Any bookmarks or links found anywhere online still work.

Not everything that counts can be counted and
not everything that can be counted counts.

— Albert Einstein