As the autumn raptor migration draws to a close in the Lower Susquehanna Valley Watershed, observers at the Second Mountain Hawk Watch in Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, were today treated to a flight of both Bald and Golden Eagles. Gliding on updrafts created by a brisk northwest breeze striking the slope of the ridge, seven of the former and three of the latter species were seen threading their way through numerous bands of snow as they made their way southwest toward favorable wintering grounds.
The best and final bird of the day, and possibly one of the highlights of the season at this counting station, was a “Barthelemyi Golden Eagle”, a rare Golden Eagle variant with conspicuous shoulder epaulets created by white scapular feathers.
Today’s rarity is the second record of a “Barthelemyi Golden Eagle” at Second Mountain Hawk Watch—the first occurring on October 21, 2017.
Spofford, W. R. 1961. “White Epaulettes in Some Appalachian Golden Eagles”. Prothonotary. 27: 99.