Posted by: 3pomjaeger3 | 12 August 2013

11 August: Lifer!

coha-juv-smithpoint-8-11-13-tl-01-cropscreen-lowresOne of the two juvenile Cooper’s Hawks present.

Yesterday, my first day on the tower this season, I was surprised by the number of visitors on the 11th of August.  One of these visitors was Luke Hollander from Minnesota who Tad Finnell and I ran into on Saturday at Rollover Pass on our way here from Lake Jackson.  He had joined us in ogling a huge pile of Black Terns on the sand/mud there and asked us some bird-finding questions.  One was relevant to this post, as I had told him that Smith Point was probably the best shot for that species, so he said that he’d probably be by.  Todd McGrath, a very recent transplant from California, was another, and the real surprise of my day (having spent quite a few days on California pelagic trips with him).

Runner-up Bird of the Day:  Many will remember from last year my traditional BOD designation (and occasional runners-up) and that the subject need not be a bird.  Just about the first bird I heard upon climbing the tower was an Upland Sandpiper; I would tally three more for the day, only one of which I saw.

Non-raptor migrants were highlighted by the 24 flocks of White Ibis of 500 (precisely!) individuals (242 adults, 258 juveniles), four flocks of 37 Black Terns, 23 Tricolored Herons (more than I saw here all last fall), four flocks of 70 American White Pelicans, seven flocks of 145 White-winged Doves, one unidentified Empidonax flycatcher, six Eastern Kingbirds, five Dickcissels, eight Orchard Orioles, and 153 Blue-gray Gnatcatchers!  The entire list can be seen in

Today’s eBird checklist

Raptor diversity was low, but probably typical for this early in the season.  I saw, but did not count, 10 Turkey Vultures, 31 Black Vultures, three Cooper’s Hawks (1 ad., 2 Juvs.), single ad. and juv. light-morph Swainson’s Hawks, three juv. Broad-winged Hawks, and an ad. Red-tailed Hawk.

Bird of the Day:  Shortly after 1 pm, I was sitting with Luke and Todd when I noticed part of a shadow on the deck in front of me.  So, I bolted off my chair and looked up and back to see an individual of the lifer species that Luke visited to see — Swallow-tailed Kite — heading south across the Bay!  The only negative aspect was that it would be my sole counted raptor migrant for the day.

coni-f-smithpoint-8-11-13-tl-1-cropscreen-lowresOne of a handful of Common Nighthawks (this one a female) ogled at the tower today.

imageA juvenile Turkey Vulture that just about climbed in the tower with me.



  1. Sounds like a fun first day. How on earth did you spot a McGrath! I thought they were native to California? Have a great season Tony.

  2. May only be one raptor counted, but STKI is a goodie!

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