Posted by: 3pomjaeger3 | 17 August 2013

16 August: What? Migrant raptors?

ImageAt Smith Point, it’s not just about raptors.  This typical scene provides a case in point.  All pictures are copyright by Tony Leukering, 16 August 2013.

After five days of counting just two migrating raptors, today showed that such do, indeed, come by here, with the count nearly doubling the seasonal tally!  But, as illustrated by the picture above, the large waterbirds also moved on the blue-sky, northerly-wind conditions present all day.

The raptor tally:

  • Osprey – 1
  • Swallow-tailed Kite – 1 (adult)
  • Mississippi Kite – 11 (mix of second-years and adults)
  • Broad-winged Hawk – 6 (all juveniles)
  • Swainson’s Hawk – 5 (all juveniles)

ImageAll of the kites tallied today popped up right overhead, while I was conducting a count of high-migrating swallows by lying down on the deck!

Big waterbirds:  The Wood Stork movement came as a surprise, with the 231 in 20 flocks tripping the eBird filter.  I don’t really know what they were doing, as flocks went east, flocks went west, flocks combined into larger flocks….  The number of Roseate Spoonbills also surprised me, as the 51 tallied in nine flocks (max: 19) greatly surpassed my entire season’s tally last year (though, I didn’t arrive at the tower until 12 September last year).  Most of the spoonbills were heading E.

ImageThese five Roseate Spoonbills bucked the trend for the species and headed west.

White Ibis was the big mover of the day, as it often is during much of the fall here, with 42 flocks hosting 901 ibis being tallied, virtually all moving W.

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher tally:  39

Today’s eBird checklist


ImageThe Upland Sandpiper show was not as strong as yesterday’s, but I still counted 14, including this one.

ImageThe dragonfly show past the tower was spectacular and certainly included tens  of thousands, primarily Wandering Gliders, with a strong admixture of Spot-winged Gliders, like this beast.  Others noted included other regular migrant species, such as Common Green Darner, Red Saddlebags, and Black Saddlebags.  Of interest were many Striped Saddlebags (a species of the Caribbean and tropical mainland from south Texas south, but which often irrupt northward) and a couple of species that are not widely considered migrants, but of which I saw a few — Four-spotted Pennant — or quite a few — Blue Dasher — cross over the tower.  The biggest surprise for me, though, was the Bar-winged Skimmer I found perched on the lower deck and which provides the overdue first record for the county, which is poorly known for odonates.  In the afternoon, dragonflies were gobbling up large numbers of some tiny insect that mostly escaped my poor eyes, but which showed up in a couple of pictures that I took.

ImageLike in this picture of a female Common Nighthawk!


Some surprising species got into the act, species like Blue-gray Gnatcatcher that one does not normally think of as an aerial insectivore!

ImageI leave you with just one more, belated picture.  I had meant to post this on the 14th, but….  It’s titled “So, you want to be a waterbird counter, do you?  Show your stuff, then!”



  1. […] 16 August: What? Migrant raptors? ( […]

  2. […] In a couple of previous posts, I posted ostensible quiz photos for potential waterbird counters, here and here.  The answers to the quizzes […]

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