Sunday, I went to watch raptors migrating. I didn’t need to go to Hawk Mountain or drive two hours in the early morning hours. I drove a few miles from the northwest section of Philadelphia to Fort Washington State Park.
I arrived about 10 a.m. and it was cool and rainy. The sky was thick with low-lying clouds. I doubted I would see any birds. And I was right, I only saw one osprey.
But, it was good to be outside and songbirds were busy feeding at the well-stocked feeders in front of the hawk watching platform.
All 16 of the raptor species that migrate along the east coast fly right over Fort Washington State Park. A roomy Hawk Watch platform is a comfortable place to watch.
A couple of years ago I asked a seasoned bird if he had been to Hawk Mountain. He surprised me when he said no, that he could see all the raptors just a few miles away at Fort Washington State Park.
The park consists of 493 acres of woods in eastern Montgomery County. The park is located between the communities of Fort Washington and Flourtown along Bethelem Pike. It is close to route 73, route 276 (PA turnpike) and route 309. It lies a few miles outside the Chestnut Hill section of Philadelphia. I think there might be a SEPTA bus stop not too far away.
The Hawk Watch platform is on Militia Hill Road off of the Skippack Pike entrance to the park. Parking is directly across the road from the Hawk Watch platform.
If you would like to see the raptors, the “Watch” begins on September 1 and lasts through October 31, each year. Volunteers compilers are on duty every day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Why drive for several hours when you can witness the great migrations so close to home?