Posted by: jasonbojczyk | 23 October 2014

Recent Totals

10-20: 10,557 Raptors

Broad-winged Hawk-10,340 (at least 8 dark morph)

Swainson’s Hawk-10

Sharp-shinned Hawk-12

Cooper’s Hawk-36

Mississippi Kite-1

Turkey Vulture-90

Black Vulture-4

American Kestrel-8

Northern Harrier-5

10-21 Raptors: 522

Red-tailed-1

Broad-winged-328 (at least 1 dark morph)

Swainson’s-1

Red-shouldered-1

Sharpie-5

Cooper’s-11

Turkey Vulture-147

American Kestrel-20

Peregrine-1

Merlin-1

Osprey-2

Harrier-4

10-22: 229 Raptors

Broad-winged-165

Sharpie-12

Cooper’s-2

Turkey Vulture-38

Black Vulture-3

Kestrel-7

Merlin-1

Harrier-1

10-23 Raptors: 876

Broad-winged-728 (at least 1 dark morph)

Swainson’s-2

Red-shouldered-2

Sharpie-5

Cooper’s-13

Turkey Vulture-100

Black Vulture-6

Kestrel-16

Harrier-4

Bald Eagle-1

Posted by: jasonbojczyk | 19 October 2014

5th and 2nd

Today’s Count: 24,123 Raptors!!!

Black Vulture-3

Turkey Vulture-91

Osprey-1

Bald Eagle-3

Northern Harrier-17

Sharp-shinned Hawk-8

Cooper’s Hawk-13

Broad-winged Hawk-23,963 (at least 19 dark morph)

Red-tailed Hawk-1

Swainson’s Hawk-16

American Kestrel-6

Mississippi Kite-1

Well, the unbelievable stretch continues with today being the 5th 10,000+ and the 2nd 20,000+ raptor days in a row. Many people were treated to this excellent show, the best of which has been these past 2 days. Both days have started off with nice morning lift-offs of Broad-wingeds. Yesterday’s lift-off comprised of ~2,200 Broad-wingeds. Today was just a long, continuous lift-off that began with a few dozen birds and never really stopped building in numbers, as Broad-wingeds from the north started streaming in from that point on. At its peak today, there were more than 11,000 birds in the air at once, almost all of which were Broad-wingeds. Dark Broad-wingeds have put on an amazing show these past 2 days, with yesterday providing the best views, including one that was at most 300 feet above the tower. Improving upon statistics from a few days ago, raptors the past 5 days have averaged at 2,151 per hour!!! It continues to be impossible to fully describe just how amazing the turnaround has been this season. Just 5 days ago it was by far the worst season and now it is currently the 2nd best season, very quickly approaching the best season ever. Some additional species have picked up slightly while others have not. Most of the Kestrels and accipiters today were headed the wrong way and thus, not countable. The upcoming days and weeks through the end of the season will be very interesting to see what happens in this most unusual of seasons that will surely never happen again (certain aspects of it).

Some non-raptors the past 2 days have included: Greater White-fronted Goose-2, American White Pelican-over 1,500, Anhinga-over 170, White Ibis-nearly 2,500, Franklin’s Gull-40, Rough-winged Swallow-4,000+, Tree Swallow-550+, and Yellow-rumped Warbler-1.

Dark Broad-winged Hawk

Dark Broad-winged Hawk

Some of the 1,000+ American White Pelicans yesterday

Some of the 1,200 American White Pelicans yesterday

There has been 1 lone Wood Stork for a few days now. This one was in the area several weeks ago.

There has been 1 lone Wood Stork flying over the platform for a few days now. This one was in the area several weeks ago.

Osprey

Osprey

Osprey

Osprey

Dark Broad-winged Hawk

Dark Broad-winged Hawk

Posted by: jasonbojczyk | 18 October 2014

Amazing

Today’s Count: 26,213 Raptors!!!

Black Vulture-11

Turkey Vulture-42

Osprey-1

Bald Eagle-4

Northern Harrier-14

Sharp-shinned Hawk-12

Cooper’s Hawk-13

Red-shouldered Hawk-1

Broad-winged Hawk-26,093 (at least 19 dark morph)

Red-tailed Hawk-1

Swainson’s Hawk-12

American Kestrel-6

Mississippi Kite-1

Unknown Falcon-1

Unknown Raptor-1

Currently 4th best season, 3rd best Broad-winged/raptor day ever, tied for 2nd best Bald Eagle day ever. Amazing. More tomorrow.

Posted by: jasonbojczyk | 17 October 2014

Continuation of the Incredible!!!

Today’s Count: 14,864 Raptors!

Turkey Vulture-444

Northern Harrier-22

Sharp-shinned Hawk-47

Cooper’s Hawk-11

Broad-winged Hawk-14,316 (at least 2 dark morph)

Red-tailed Hawk-1

Swainson’s Hawk-6

American Kestrel-13

Peregrine Falcon-2

Mississippi Kite-2

The unprecedented continues! As we were approaching 10,000 raptors today I began to wonder if this has ever happened before-3 consecutive days of 10,000+ raptors in the history of the Smith Point Hawk Watch. It hasn’t! This is the first time ever there have been 3 consecutive 10,000+ raptor days and there is only one year, 2009 (the 2nd best season), with 2 days in a row with 10,000+ raptors. Today was also the 5th best day for Broad-wingeds ever at Smith Point. The peak viewing today occurred when over 8,000 raptors were in view at once! These past 3 days have been amazing and just these 3 days have been better than 5 and nearly 6 previous full fall seasons of counting!!! One of the most amazing statistics to show the kind of turnaround that has happened here is the number of raptors per hour. Prior to October 15th, the number of raptors per hour was 11.9 raptors. In the last 3 days raptors have averaged at 1,577 per hour!!!!! This is a 13,152% increase in the number of raptors observed per hour!!!!! Two extremes resulting in yet another statistic that will almost certainly never be broken again (with x amount of days).

While far from peak numbers in any given season, both Harriers and Kestrels had their best days of the season thus far. Hopefully this a sign that they will start to be on the rise and peak in an unprecedented time period.

Some non-raptors today included: White Pelican-87, Anhinga-7, White Ibis-186, Marbled Godwit-3, Swallows-3,000+ but many many more-mostly Rough-winged, Rose-breasted Grosbeak-1, Dickcissel-18, Red-winged Blackbird-48, Meadowlark Sp-40, Brown-headed Cowbird-58, Blackbird Sp-46

Northern Harriers have regularly been passing well out over the bay, initially being detected from the southeast and not passing by the tower. At least 8 performed this flight path today and it has occurred for the past several.

Northern Harriers have been regularly passing well out over the bay, initially being detected from the southeast and not passing by the tower. At least 8 took this flight path today and it has occurred for the past several days.

I believe I've seen 3 Harriers migrating rather close together once or twice before, but I've certainly never seen 4 migrating together or so close before.

I believe I’ve seen 3 Harriers migrating rather close together once or twice before, but I’ve certainly never seen 4 migrating together or so close before. These came out over the bay.

Far from representing the best views, this is just a snapshot of one of the many large, mixed kettles these past 3 days.

Far from representing the best views, this is just a snapshot of one of the many large, mixed kettles these past 3 days.

Broad-winged Hawks

Broad-winged Hawks

Most have been far, but this dark Broad-winged Hawk made a brief, close pass this morning

Most have been far, but this dark Broad-winged Hawk made a brief, close pass this morning

Part of the 210 Franklin's Gull flock on Wednesday.

Part of the 210 Franklin’s Gull flock on Wednesday.

Franklin's Gulls

Franklin’s Gulls

Posted by: jasonbojczyk | 16 October 2014

More Craziness in the Positive Direction

10-16 Raptors: 12,355

Black Vulture-13

Turkey Vulture-228

Northern Harrier-5

Sharp-shinned Hawk-30

Cooper’s Hawk-4

Broad-winged Hawk-12,058 (at least 6 dark today and at least 17 yesterday)

Swainson’s Hawk-3

American Kestrel-10

Merlin-1

Mississippi Kite-2

Unknown Accipiter-1

Where to begin? Even more craziness to this season these past few days. No buildup of Broad-wingeds, as in pretty much every prior season, but just instant incredibly huge days. In fact, from a numbers/viewing perspective these have been the most amazing raptor days I’ve ever seen. The average number of birds in view at any one time these past 2 days is probably somewhere around 2,000 raptors!

These past 2 days have not only resulted in this no longer being by far the worst raptor count ever here at Smith Point, but it’s actually now ‘only’ the 3rd worst season ever, surpassing 2 other seasons!!! Yesterday’s count exceeded the previous 75 days, or 556 hours, of counting in under 4 hours!!! The amount of birds seen these last three days is 3.4x the number of birds seen in the previous 74 days!!! Today’s raptor total is a full 2 weeks later than any other previous season with at least 10,000 raptors seen in a day.  Last year and in 2001 are the only seasons where raptors have even reached half the totals of these past two days for this time of the year. Who knows what the rest of the season will bring? Despite these amazing Broad-winged totals, there are many species in well-below average to unbelievably below average numbers. If they started picking up now, some species would be 3 weeks behind. Is it still possible for them to arrive even later? Will Broad-wingeds continue in the thousands? We shall see.

Today we reached the 150th species seen from the tower-a House Wren. Some of the more interesting combined totals of the past 3 days in the non-raptor department include: Greater White-fronted Geese-258, White Pelican-254, Anhinga-154, White Ibis-865, Dark Ibis-162, Wood Stork-1, Sandhill Crane-2, Killdeer-205, Yellowlegs-91, Dowitcher-80, Franklin’s Gull-472, Mourning Dove-219, Scissor-tailed Flycatcher-92 but hundreds reported in the area, Rough-winged Swallow-1,500+, American Pipit-6, Sprague’s Pipit-1, Yellow-rumped Warbler-6, Common Yellowthroat-2, Savannah Sparrow-a few dozen at Robbins Park, Lincoln’s Sparrow-1 (in mottes), Rose-breasted Grosbeak-2, Indigo Bunting-31, Dickcissel-24, Red-winged Blackbird-68, Eastern Meadowlark-11, Meadowlark Sp-76, Brown-headed Cowbird-331, Blackbird Sp-114, and Pine Siskin-2

Posted by: jasonbojczyk | 15 October 2014

10-14, 10-15 Raptors

10-14:  922 Raptors

Turkey Vulture-94

Harrier-4

Sharpie-77

Cooper’s-14

Broad-winged-713

Swainson’s-1

Kestrel-11

Merlin-1

Peregrine-3

Mississippi Kite-4

10-15: 10,618 Raptors

Turkey Vulture-53

Harrier-8

Sharpie-34

Cooper’s-8

Broad-winged-10,481

Swainson’s-23

Kestrel-7

Mississippi Kite-3

Unknown Falcon-1

More substance tomorrow.

Posted by: jasonbojczyk | 13 October 2014

10-13 Raptors

37 mph winds + thunderstorms = 0 raptors but 83 Frigatebirds

Posted by: jasonbojczyk | 12 October 2014

Black-billed Cuckoo

Today’s Count: 449

Broad-winged-303

Red-tailed-1

Swainson’s-2

Sharpie-30

Cooper’s-7

Mississippi Kite-3

Turkey Vulture-80

Black Vulture-16

Kestrel-6

Unknown Raptor-1

Just the 5th day of over 300 raptors this season and the best Broad-winged day of the season.  Completely unexpected given the strong south winds for half the day. The undoubted highlight of today was a Black-billed Cuckoo found by Nina. While a few are probably here each spring, this is a rare fall migrant and represents only the 2nd or 3rd record for Smith Point, the last record (that I’m aware of) over a decade ago on 10-29-2002. Nina also found a Yellow-billed Cuckoo to complete the duo for the day.

Posted by: jasonbojczyk | 11 October 2014

Golden Eagle

10-10 Raptors: 30

Turkey Vulture-8

Harrier-2

Sharpie-15

Broad-winged-1

Kestrel-2

Mississippi Kite-2

10-11 Raptors: 127

Turkey Vulture-35

Harrier-1

Sharpie-10

Cooper’s-9

Broad-winged-65

Swainson’s-1

Golden Eagle-1

Kestrel-1

Mississippi Kite-4

This Golden Eagle was record early for the count, beating the previous early date by over a week (8 days). Given weather conditions north of us for the past several weeks, this isn't too surprising

This Golden Eagle was record early for the count, beating the previous early date by over a week (8 days). Given weather conditions north of us for the past several weeks, this isn’t too surprising.

Posted by: jasonbojczyk | 9 October 2014

10-9 Raptors

286 Raptors

Black Vulture-31

Turkey Vulture-14

Sharpie-33

Cooper’s-2

Unknown Accipiter-1

Broad-winged-190

Kestrel-2

Peregrine-1

Mississippi Kite-12

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