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Hawk watching and coffee?

posted by Jerry Liguori at
on Friday, January 21, 2011 

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.

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Blogger Tim Avery said...

Jerry, as usual a great post. I guess we need to create a tag called "unexpected birding". Golfing is when I find myself unexpectedly birding the most. I am always looking and listening for birds, but usually when I am golfing I wish I had my binoculars because the golf courses are such great birding spots.

My best memory of unexpected birding was actually my college graduation. Middle of May in southern Wisconsin on the front of an incoming storm. The ceremony was outside and warblers were moving through the trees the entire two hours--I know on multiple occasions I jerked my head up to a singing Cape May, Black-throated Blue, or Black-throated Green Warbler. I don't remember a whole lot about the actual ceremony, but that Scarlet Tanager that sang from the tree to the left of the stage is sure ingrained along with all those warblers!

January 21, 2011 at 8:50 PM  
Anonymous Jerry Liguori said...

Too coincidental that you said that, I was going to write a blog post about birding and golfing....you write one if you want and I can respond.


January 21, 2011 at 9:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice blog. I'm always looking up for birds, too

Pat Bean http://patbean.wordpress.com

January 22, 2011 at 5:57 AM  
Blogger Jeff Bilsky said...

I can totally relate to the "actually I do that everywhere" comment. I think it gets to the point that your eyes and other senses are always on alert for birds to the point where it would be impossible not to notice. I mean try driving on a freeway and not noticing raptors perched on power lines. It's weird to think how many people probably don't ever see something like that and how to those who have started looking there's a whole world out there. Now if I could just train myself to stop noticing billboards on the freeway that would great...

January 24, 2011 at 10:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My Mountain Dell Men's League group always walks. It's a sure way to see a good assortment of raptors and other birds around the reservoir and canyon. We always have a couple of different side bets - one that requires the loser to bring (and carry!) the binoculars the following week.

January 24, 2011 at 11:41 AM  
Blogger Tim Avery said...

Alright Jerry, I will put one up today, This is an interesting topic and worth exploring further.

January 24, 2011 at 12:16 PM  
Anonymous Jerry Liguori said...

Hey, is that "anonymous" you Mike Shaw? If I walked Mt Dell 18 holes, I'd be proud to put my name on that response...you athlete.

January 24, 2011 at 5:09 PM  

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