Today’s Count: 211
10-25: 67 Raptors
Yes, a full 8 hour count on both days. Take away the brief, pleasant week of Broad-wingeds and normal vulture numbers and we’re back to exactly what this season really is.
10-20: 10,557 Raptors
Broad-winged Hawk-10,340 (at least 8 dark morph)
10-21 Raptors: 522
Broad-winged-328 (at least 1 dark morph)
10-22: 229 Raptors
10-23 Raptors: 876
Broad-winged-728 (at least 1 dark morph)
Today’s Count: 24,123 Raptors!!!
Broad-winged Hawk-23,963 (at least 19 dark morph)
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.
Today’s Count: 26,213 Raptors!!!
Broad-winged Hawk-26,093 (at least 19 dark morph)
Currently 4th best season, 3rd best Broad-winged/raptor day ever, tied for 2nd best Bald Eagle day ever. Amazing. More tomorrow.
Today’s Count: 14,864 Raptors!
Broad-winged Hawk-14,316 (at least 2 dark morph)
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