It was windy when I went to Meremec State Park in early March, and the hawks were out, soaring up the updrafts rising above the river bluffs. I noticed one first when I was walking along a gravel bar next to the river. I couldn't really get a good look at it, because it was so far above the river.

Later, when I wandered away from the river, toward the top of a big bluff overlooking the valley, I noticed a whole bunch (a flock? a cast?) of them, soaring just over the bare hilltop crowning the bluff. I tried sneaking through the fringe of trees crowning the bluff, but the hawks were having none of it. The closer I crept, the farther away the circled, until finally they moved to the next bluff upstream. I ended up with some comically bad video:

And one picture that captured them in flight:

Before I took the video and the picture, I did get a close look. These are big birds, two and half foot wingspans, and utterly unafraid. They left when I arrived, but they took their time, and didn't leave until they were sure I wasn't leaving.

I had seen and heard hawks all day. I had hiked cross-country up a valley, in search of a couple of springs which I never found. The valley had a lot of relatively open areas, so I guess the hawks I had heard were up there hunting. They pretty common birds, but usually I see them one at a time, at a distance, or faintly through the trees. It was a treat to see so many at once, and so close.