Life has been so hectic lately. First, my laptop had to go the the black-hole hell of the Geek Squad support hospital because my wireless card had stopped working. After being without it for three weeks, an inept but apologetic employee called to tell me that while my laptop was back from the black hole, somehow they had managed to drop it, breaking the screen, and now needed my permission to repair the damage that they had caused. What? So now I’ve been without it for another week with no idea when it will be returned in working condition to me. Seems like really poor customer service to me!

During this time, I was fortunate to spend a week in the mountains of the Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania. Fall migration is well under way, especially the raptor migration at Hawk Mountain with kettles of Broad-winged Hawks, Sharp-shinned Hawks, Red-tailed Hawks, Bald Eagles, Coopers Hawks, warblers, and Monarch Butterflies all making their way south. The Monarch above was found while hiking up the trail to the peak of Hawk Mountain.

Hawk Mountain is a mountain ridge in the Appalachian Mountains of Pennsylvania, located near Kempton. The mountain is well known for its beautiful scenery and its role as a major raptor migration path. Each year, hundreds of thousands of raptors migrate along this path, with the peak count occurring in mid-October. The mountain is also home to around 300 species of birds, as well as other wildlife, including white-tailed deer, black bear, coyote, bobcat, and many other species of mammals, reptiles, and amphibians.

Hawk Mountain Sanctuary, a 2,500-acre preserve, offers visitors the chance to observe the annual raptor migration, as well as providing educational programs, hiking trails, and other activities. The area is also home to the Hawk Mountain Bird Observatory, a research facility dedicated to the study of raptor migration and the conservation of raptor species.

It’s a scenic ridge that serves as a migration route for birds of prey, and it’s a popular spot for birdwatching. The sanctuary offers stunning views of the Appalachian Mountains and the surrounding countryside.

It’s a great destination for nature lovers, hikers, and bird enthusiasts, who come from all over to see the annual migration of hawks, eagles, and falcons. It’s also a great place for picnicking, hiking, and just enjoying the great outdoors.

In addition to being a beautiful natural area, Hawk Mountain Sanctuary is also dedicated to the conservation of birds of prey and the preservation of their habitats. So not only will you have a great time while you’re there, but you’ll also be supporting a worthy cause!

We stayed with friends at a house owned by their friend in Palmerton, PA, and had a great time traveling around the area and observing the wonders of migration. Imagine our surprise when we discovered that Palmerton is the site of one of the first and largest EPA Superfund Sites!

I had not planned to be offline for a week as I had gotten a USB “aircard” for the little netbook that is my computer until the Geek Squad releases my laptop from captivity. What I did not know, however, is that aircards are only useful if you’re getting a phone signal. These mountains of Pennsylvania are notorious for dead zones, dropped calls, roaming unknown networks, etc. So, despite my best intentions I was offline for that period of time. It’s amazing how many emails, RSS feeds, twitter posts, etc. can pile up in a week!

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