One day in early April 2001, I was sitting outside the Coffee Garden on 9th & 9th, and scanned the sky just casually with the naked eye as I always do when I’m outdoors. This was at the former location on the opposite corner of where the Coffee Garden is now, so I was faced south, perfect for spotting northbound hawks. Anyway, as I looked up after my first sip of coffee (light roast with a touch of cream), I saw 3 Red-tailed Hawks high up gliding over. Boy, did my adrenaline kick in…3 birds at once; was I going to be pleasantly surprised with a hawk flight? A minute later, a Cooper’s Hawk and another Red-tailed Hawk cruised by. Now I was excited, I called a friend (who was staying with me indefinitely) to meet me, and to bring binoculars.
I knew birds migrated over town on certain winds in spring and fall, when they would “cut the corner” from Mount Olympus to North Salt Lake on certain winds in spring or vice versa in fall. But, as the flight picked up by mid-morning, I realized that this was the main flight line on some days. My dream was coming true, fresh coffee and food (I love their desserts) within arms reach, and a hawk flight overhead. I stayed out all day, eating lunch and dinner on the corner, and counted hundreds of hawks of all sorts. I’ve seen record-high one-day counts over the years, but that was one of the most memorable days I had watching hawks. Every time I go to the Coffee Garden now, I look up first before walking in…actually, I do that everywhere.
Labels: migration, raptors, salt lake county, unexpected birding