Posted by: jkennedy366 | 3 August 2013

First Count of the Fall: August 3

I spent the day at the hawk watch tower and actually had some hawks after a very slow start. No birds at all until 10 then more long dead dead spots during the rest of the day.

Weather in the morning and early pm was great for watching hawks with good clouds mixed with blue skies. Early on the strong south type wind kept birds down but once the wind dropped, the birds showed up and again vanished when the wind came up picked up again in the afternoon.

In any event the official count was

broad-winged hawk 8

cooper’s hawk 2

osprey 2

night 4

All these birds migrated over the bay or way out Hawkins camp and were not seen again.

I really expected kites as they are the target bird for the early season and they start moving in late July but had zero for the day.

Both vultures were around and passed by many times but will not be migrating until later in the fall. There is a good crop of both turkey and black youngsters.

On the way down to Smith Point, found the shorebird pond dry as were most of the usual wet spots and the gator pond at the tower. The pond by the abandoned red restaurant had a good bunch of black-crowned night heron young, spoonbills, white ibis and 3 large broods of almost grown black-bellied whistling ducks.

The scavenging flock of shorebirds out by Robbins Park had about 100 ruddy turnstones and least sandpipers each along with a few sanderlings, western willets and black-bellied plover. There were 19 American oystercatchers there including 2 young of the year with none banded.

Lots of swallows went past with over 500 each barn and cliff concentrated in the am but present all day joined by some purple martins, mainly males later in the day.

The only other land bird migrants seen were 2 groups of orchard orioles (7 and 9) and after mid-morning maybe a dozen blue-gray gnatcatchers.

The skies were empty until a bit after 10am when the first large kettle of the fall appear which was 125 or so wood storks. They attracted a couple of broad-winged hawks, an osprey and a frigatebird along with both vultures. The storks and vultures went up into a cloud and were not seen again but the hawks etc headed out. The 2nd osprey came in high and went over the bay about half way to the bolivar water tower and then came back, sat awhile and left for Galveston.

wood_stork_BRD0232

The rare birds of the day were a couple of house sparrows in the parking lot. Had a total of 6 dragonflies for the day which will not feed many kites but there were no kites so the dragonflies were safe.

The other kettle for the day was one of 27 white pelicans. About 75 white ibis were in a line but did cross the bay so several of the non-hawk migrants of the point were moving at the start of the season.

Mockingbirds have lots of just fledged striped youngsters and there was a fresh scissor-tail brood out Hawkins camp. The mockers were really upset with the shrikes and up to a dozen would perch near a shrike but not scold or agitate. The mockers would then go off to the east motte for a meal of poke sally berries.

Bobwhite were calling and feed in the garden behind the houses so watch for them going across the road to eat. While checking around on the way home, had a quick look at a greenish-backed kingbird way out Hawkins camp but it ducked into cover and never called or came out. Seaside sparrows in the Hawkins camp marsh a bit before the turn to the park.

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