Recent Sightings

Sightings From October 2013

October 28, 2013

Porcupine at North Lookout

Porcupine at North Lookout

A porcupine has been seen on several days, perched high in a tree on the western slope, and easily visible from the North Lookout. This photo taken by Sofia Capellan Morata, trainee.

October 20, 2013

Spring salamander near River of Rocks

Spring salamander near River of Rocks

The spring salamander (Gyrinophilus p. porphyriticus) can grow more than 7 inches in length, and thrives in habitats with cool springs and rocky substrate. This spring salamander was spotted near the River of Rocks. Photo by Kirsten Tout.

October 19, 2013

Northern harrier by Bill Moses

Northern harrier by Bill Moses

Mid October is the peak of northern harrier migration. The harrier is a grassland raptor that has been in decline in Pennsylvania, and is one of four species targeted through our Pennsylvania Farmland Raptor Project.

October 18, 2013

Accipiter against fall foliage

Accipiter against fall foliage

Accipiters are the family of raptors identified by their rudderlike tail, which is designed for darting quickly through forests in search of smaller birds. Accipiters seen at Hawk Mountain include the sharp-shinned and Cooper's hawk, and the northern goshawk.

October 18, 2013

Sharp-shinned hawk by Bill Moses

Sharp-shinned hawk by Bill Moses

Hundreds of sharp-shinned hawks soar by the North Lookout during the month of October. The peak of sharpie migration is mid month.

October 18, 2013

Immature bald eagle by Bill Moses

Immature bald eagle by Bill Moses

Bald eagles are easily identified by their white head and overall dark body, unless the bird is a juvenile. In that case, there can be much streaking, as seen on this photo.

October 7, 2013

Marbled Orb-Weaver Spider by Adam Carter

Marbled Orb-Weaver Spider by Adam Carter

A colorful spider, the marbled orb-weaver can be found in trees, shurbs and tall weeds, and grasses in moist wooded settings, frequently along the banks of streams.
 
The webs are found in trees, shrubs and tall weeds, and grasses in moist, wooded settings and can frequently be found along the banks of streams.

Egg cocoons, which contain several hundred eggs, are generally deposited in October and are constructed of white silk formed in a flattened sphere. Immature spiders emerge from the cocoons in spring. Adults are seen from midsummer until the first hard freeze of fall.

October 7, 2013

Northern Dusky Salamander by Adam Carter

Northern Dusky Salamander by Adam Carter

Northern Dusky Salamanders are tan or dark brown on the back becoming a bit lighter on each side. Although usually plain, a close inspection may sometimes show mottling not much darker than the background color. Larvae and juveniles have pairs of oval blotches on each side that often fuse together to form streaks running the length of the body. The underside is pinkish with blue-gray speckles. The tail is triangular and less than half the total length of the salamander. It has 14 costal grooves on each side.

October 7, 2013

Virginia Creeper by Adam Carter

Virginia Creeper by Adam Carter

Virginia Creeper is a climbing vine, which can grow up to 50 feet and identified by its leaves, which have five leaflets. In the Fall, all the leaves turn deep red and put on a beautiful show of color.

This plant is often confused with Poison Ivy, which it frequently grows alongside of, but Poison Ivy has only three leaflets, and its leaves have only a few teeth, or not teeth at all. Virginia Creeper always has teeth on its leaves.

Virginia Creeper can not only grow as a vine up tree trunks and walls, but it can stand alone. It will send out runners along the ground, and quickly cover the area.

Virginia Creeper is very fast growing. It can choke a tree or shrub if not controlled.

October 6, 2013

Sharpie in Flight by Bill Moses

Sharpie in Flight by Bill Moses

October means the chance to see large numbers of sharp-shinned hawks during the peak of their migration. At this time of year the sharpie will be the most numerous migrant.

October 5, 2013

Black Vulture by Bill Moses

Black Vulture by Bill Moses

The Black Vulture is one of two vultures seen in Pennsylvania (the other being the Turkey Vulture), and at Hawk Mountain, several residents are known to perch on the rocks below North and sometimes South Lookout.

October 4, 2013

Green frog by bill moses

Green frog by bill moses

About 2 to 4 inches in length, the green frog is abundant in Pennsylvania and can be found in  small ponds like the one in the Native Plant Garden, as well as marshes, swamps, lake borders, small streams and large rivers.

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