Sunday, October 4, 2009

Hawk Mountain Sanctuary and Deer Lake Fossils

Well sir, the coach is in the shop for a couple weeks worth of repairs. Ouch! The Quigley is in the body shop to repair the "hit and run" damage the Fifth Wheel driver did to it in the Yukon on the way to Alaska. But problems with turkeys are no reason not to soar with eagles, so off we went to see the sights from the vantage point of Hawk Mountain Sanctuary. Some of you will remember a few posts back I mentioned that my father had been given the Warden's Award for a lifetime of contribution and achievement from this prestigious wildlife preservation organization. I had accompanied my dad with the rest of the family many times as a child to hike up the mountain and look out over the ridges and valleys through a pair of binoculars, and watch the eagles, hawks, falcons, owls, and whatever else happened by on the seasonal migrations. The place hasn't changed much, ("The rocks are still all in the same place," said to ranger on the ticket counter) although it is clear that the number of visitors who avail themselves of the magnificent collection of trails and lookouts has increased 10 fold or more.

It's only a mile hike to the north lookout (a not too difficult rocky climb if you will) and a much shorter easy walk to the south lookout. We carried our walking sticks and one child asked us, "Hey where did you get them?" When we told her we brought them from Alaska, she remarked: "Oh I didn't know they had trees there...." You learn something every day.

It was fun visiting the mountain again. We saw some ospreys, some Sharpie hawks, one Redtail and a few other non raptor species. But for us the visit was more about the mountain and the views than it was about the birds. One of the nicest things about traveling all the time? We see hawks, eagles, all kinds of birds, nearly every day. On a wire, a pole, a fence, the brush by the side of the road as we cruise on by. It's a neat way to go birding and does NOT require getting up with the sun to get out in the field with the old binoculars.

Hawk Mountain Slide Show:

Once we drove back down the mountain, we decided to try to find a spot nearby where my family used to go fossil hunting. We found Deer Lake and the adjacent rock quarry just as I had remembered it. Well, almost- enough to recognize right off. And we were finding fossil shells, aquatic plant life, even a few trilobites almost from the moment we got out of the (rental) van we are using while our repairs are being done. It was good to put our geology picks back into rock and ground...and we have a few small pieces to add to the collection. If you watch the slide show, you may see the praying mantis that was (I guess) looking for fossils as well. He kinda looked like a living fossil!

Deer Lake Fossil Hunting:

1 comment:

squawmama said...

Very cool slideshows and photos... How fun visiting a place you visited so many times with your family... Have Fun & Travel Safe!