Posted by: 3pomjaeger3 | 18 August 2013

17 August: Swainson’s? How many?

sunrise-smithpoint-8-17-13-tl-1-cropscreen-lowresThe sunrise, as seen from the tower, this morning.  All pictures are copyright by Tony Leukering 17 August 2013.

It all started innocently enough in the 10-11 am hour.  A Swainson’s Hawk, then two up in front with some of the other “local” hawks (a juvenile Broad-winged or two, perhaps one of the juvenile Cooper’s Hawks, a few vultures).  But, then [from my Texbirds post]

Swainson's started bubbling up in front, building to an astonishing-in-August 23 Swainson's in view at once! That group went SW to head across the Bay, eventually coming back to dribble off to the north. For the next four hours, varying numbers (9 here, 3 there) of Swainson's came in off the Bay to our west, as if they had headed SW out over the Bay well off to our east and decided that they could not make it and redirected. This is a common flight line here when buteos and/or vultures are flying in numbers. Another interesting aspect of this flight was that every bird was a juvenile. The day's Swainson's total beat the number reported here for the entire month of August last year!

In fact, the previous high August count for the species here from 2002 onward is of 15 (18 Aug 2005, 28 Aug 2011).  Additionally, in 2012, it wasn’t until 6 November that we recorded more Swainson’s Hawks (110).  The earliest higher seasonal count was on 22 Oct (259 in 2004, 125 in 2005) and there are only six (!!) higher counts!  Therefore, I declare Swainson’s Hawk to be the Bird of the Day!

swha-juv-smithpoint-8-17-13-tl-01-cropscreen-lowresFour of the 23 juvenile Swainson’s Hawks in view at once.

wtha-ad-smithpoint-8-17-13-tl-1-cropscreen-lowresThe adult White-tailed Hawk that made a brief appearance in front of the tower heading north after, apparently, coming off the water with Swainson’s and Broad-winged Hawks.

Raptors counted:

  • Swallow-tailed Kite – 2
  • Mississippi Kite – 29
  • Broad-winged Hawk – 4 (all juveniles)
  • Swainson’s Hawk – 76
  • White-tailed Hawk 1 (adult)
  • American Kestrel 1 (female, first of the season)
  • Total – 113

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher tally:  57

Today’s eBird checklist

mafr-im-smithpoint-8-17-13-tl-1-cropscreen-lowresAn immature Magnificent Frigatebird went right over the tower in the afternoon.

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