The Brown Thrashers
On Saturday May 11, 2019, I’ll be participating in my annual Raptorthon, this time at my favorite place in NH, the Pondicherry National Wildlife Refuge. It also happens to be World Migratory Bird Day! What a perfect way to celebrate migratory birds by spending the day birding and raising funds for raptor conservation!
There’s also something else that’s special about this day. This will be my 10th Raptorthon and the 10-year anniversary of the event. Ten long years ago, when I had just started at HMANA, I participated in my first event at our local hawk watch, Pack Monadnock. Since then, I’ve migrated near and far for my Raptorthons: down the road to Pitcher Mountain, NH, The Connecticut River Valley in VT, a roadtrip Raptorthon to Maryland, etc. But my favorite Raptorthon destination and spring birding destination continues to be Pondicherry. In my opinion, there is no better place to celebrate birds and migration. Pondicherry, north of the White Mountains, has the highest breeding bird diversity of any single location in NH, which is no surprise given the habitat diversity spread out over 6,000 acres: black spruce bogs, wetland, marsh, pond, northern hardwood/boreal forest, and fields. We might see species such as Black-backed Woodpecker, Northern Harrier, Common Loon, and up to 20 warbler species.
The Brown Thrasher Team is once again a family affair, which includes my husband, Phil, our daughter, Laurel (7), and son, Alden (4). We have been to Pondicherry together several times before – I have memories of our children swaddled closely to us as infants, riding over rugged terrain in a double stroller, and now as ‘big kids’…running wild and free down the trails. We plan to head out early in the am for a five-mile hike through various habitats. This popular field trip is also known as the Tudor Richard Memorial Field Trip run through NH Audubon, so we’ll be joined by dozens of birders including many familiar faces who do this trip each year. The Brown family will count every species we hear or see with the goal of trying to reach 75 species.
Please sponsor our team with a contribution of any amount! All funds raised will go toward monitoring programs at HMANA including HawkCount.org, a migration database which securely stores counts of migrating raptors from more than 250 sites across the United States, Canada, and Central America. Your donation will also support HMANA’s Hawk Watch Fund which provides annual grants to assist watch sites looking for support that includes educational materials and displays, construction and maintenance of viewing platforms, hiring hawk watchers, or purchase of equipment.
Wish us luck!
Julie, Phil, Laurel and AldenDonate to The Brown Thrashers Raptorthon