Thursday, October 4, 2012

View From Hawk Hill During Heat Wave Vanquishment

View From Hawk Hill During Heat Wave Vanquishment
Hawk Hill, Marin Headlands: Perhaps one of the most spectacular natural weather phenomenon is the rapid formation of fog along the west coast of the United States. When I arrived at Hawk Hill today it was about 70 degrees; it was mild, and no fog.  The last two days on the hill, the temperature had reached 99 degrees, quite extraordinary for this location. Of course on the hill, raptors are the main attraction. I saw two Broad-winged hawks at a distance as well as a juvenile Bald Eagle flying parallel to the Golden Gate Bridge and a Golden Eagle high over the eastern hills.
Most of the birds were pretty far away, some came in fairly close like the Red-winged hawks and Coopers. I was able to use some pointers on visual distinctions between sharpies and coops that a birding friend taught me. There were a good number of coops but only 2 or 3 sharpies; I could recognize some distinction.  It’s amazing how the veteran birders can call species, gender and age at what only appears as a spec in my bins!
At about 1230 the temperature started to drop and the wind picked up significantly and I saw the first finger of fog move over the Presidio toward the bridge.   The picture above was about 20 minutes later, and then in another 10 minutes the bridge and city vanished. Five minutes after that Hawk-Hill was totally engulfed and the hawkers started to pack-up. The fog never ceases to amaze me, what a wonderful gift; a heat wave is vanquished in about an hour! 

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