That’s nighthawks, with a lowercase “n.”
Not to be confused with Upper Valley Nighthawks season, of course. Why would you even get confused by that?
The Valley News‘ editor birder-in-chief Martin Frank pointed out that anyone missing the Nighthawks, now that their season has ended, might be “interested to know that now is the time that REAL nighthawks (nighthawks are not real hawks; they’re actually in the nightjar family) are migrating through the Upper Valley in large number (they’re most often seen around dusk).”
(Which BTW is one of the reasons that this tweet from June made me giggle. Nighthawks don’t eat cats, dude. They eat small bugs.)
Hawks eat cats, just saying. We’re coming for NA in two days https://t.co/OjZnjYVa86
— UV Nighthawks (@uvnighthawks) June 5, 2018
Just look at this puffy lil’ bug eater. So cute!
They are also tough birds, with one of the longest migration routes of all North American birds, according to the American Bird Conservancy.
Anyway, here are a few postings on a birder Listserv from recent days, courtesy of Marty. Keep your eyes peeled and let us know if you spot any!
Finally a few nighthawks over the house here on Dogford today 5 pm. Maybe 8 or so.****Approximately 25-30 flying over my field in South Strafford at 630 tonight. First time we’ve ever seen a display like this.***Out on Garipay Field in Hanover, hundreds of nighthawks were flying overhead, mostly going north on the south winds, from about 5:30 to 6:30 tonight. Some stragglers heading south in the past half hour or so. So wonderful to watch!***Just after 7:00 p.m, the sky richly color, 22 nighthawks coursed over my pastures in Thetford Center, having appeared out of the NW beyond Lake Fairlee. By 7:20, the last three birds flying back and forth into the southeast, disappeared.***Around 200 or so nighthawks were flying south to north between around 5:30 and 6:15 over Kilowatt on Sunday. Also got a nice view of a brown thrasher foraging on the ground by the brush***As I drove by the parking garage and the Faulkner Building entrance I noticed better than a dozen Nighthalks flying low in that area. They gave quite a show. They dipped and flew so close to each other. I have not seen them so low and up close. It will be a fond memory of time and place. I saw some more, fewer than a dozen flying together when I got off I-89 at exit 17 and headed east on route 4. They were not flying as low as those at DHMC.***As I pulled out of our driveway at 6:00 this eve..i saw 2 nighthawks.Nice.Then I drove into Union Village and had to stop, there were more.I counted 274 individuals, all headed north thru the village between 6:00 and 6:15. A steady stream on birds popping into view, dipping and swirling.(after getting skunked 2 Thursday and Friday nights..
.)What fun !!***The reports of the nighthawk migration bring back memories of the 1940s and 50s in Hanover, Lebanon, and Bellows Falls when they were a common feature of summer in most of the twin state cities and towns.In Hanover, on every night, they would be diving and booming as they caught insects around the lights of Baker Library. One of their favorite nesting places was the flat gravel roof of the chemistry building across the street from the White Church.