|Broad-Winged Hawk through a 500mm lens w/polarizing filter|
This afternoon I had 40 Broad-Winged Hawks fly over my yard. At the time I was wearing polarized sunglasses which deepened the blue sky and made the birds much easier pick out. I calculated the altitude of bird in the photograph above at between 1400 and 2100 ft, depending on a body length of 13-17 inches.
Most of the hawks that were detected without binoculars were in the zone of greatest polarization, which is an arc 90 degrees from the sun.
This weekend will be the start of the brief massive push of migrating Broadwings over the Lake Erie Metropark Hawk Count area. Last year on September 17th 190,000 Broadwings were counted. Although Saturday may be a day or two early for a 100,000+ day, the weather conditions will be perfect with lots of sunshine and light winds with a northerly component. So if you're heading out there bring your polarized sunglasses they may make spotting the birds a little easier.