Posted by: 3pomjaeger3 | 23 August 2013

23 August: Wow, raptors to count!

ImageThe weather was again interesting today, with the highlight being this water spout generated by a thunderstorm just to our NW on Trinity Bay this afternoon.  All photographs are copyright 23 August 2013 by Tony Leukering.

Winnie Burkett joined me for most of the day, or I joined her, as she beat me to the tower by more than an hour.  It’s always fun to share the tower with her, as our conversations are great!  Passerines were, again, slim on the ground and in the air, except for the ubiquitous Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, of which I tallied a season-high 193!  Well, and swallows, of which at least 1000 were noted, with Barn and Cliff accounting for nearly all of those.  Bank Swallow numbers rose again, to 18 today, though there may well have been more in the afternoon, when swallows and gnatcatchers were flying by in numbers.

ImageOne of the 18+ Bank Swallows tallied from the tower today.

Flycatcher diversity continues at a reasonable level, with at least one Olive-sided Flycatcher remaining, while a small number of Eastern Kingbirds, a couple each of Great Crested and Alder flycatchers, and a Least Flycatcher rounded out the contributions to the daily list by the Tyrannidae.  While the number of hummingbirds at the tower’s feeders is not all that high, there was some exciting action today.  While I did not see the long-billed Archilochus hummer today, yesterday’s immature male Rufous continued, and got into a number of aerial battles with various of the Ruby-throateds.  Of course, the Ruby-throateds did not need to have the Rufous around to have battles among themselves!

ImageImage The large-waterbird show was somewhat diverse, but not all that exciting numbers-wise, though the flock of 173 Anhinga caused the eBird filter conniptions.  However, Magnificent Frigatebirds continue to please, with the count of 31 including a tight kettle of 15 high out in front.  Four Upland Sandpiper detections of at least four Upland Sandpipers (the only one seen was by itself), a flock of seven Black Terns, and a flock of 12 Least Sandpipers that went north right past the tower in the late afternoon accounted for the small-waterbird highlights.

Dragonflies put on another show, but not of the magnitude of last weekend.  I continue to find Striped Saddlebags (a tropical immigrant) daily among the hordes or hordes of hordes of Wandering and Spot-winged gliders, Red and Black Saddlebags, and Common Green Darners.  Today, though, I finally managed to get a picture of a Four-spotted Pennant flying over the tower, something I’ve been hoping/trying to do since arriving nearly two weeks ago.

ImageUnlike the various saddlebags and gliders, Four-spotted Pennant is not well-known as a migrant and, with no water in the tower pond, there is not a population of breeders of the species in the Abshier WMA.

Now, to the main show (I am supposed to be counting migrating raptors!).  Today provided a raptor flight.  In fact, today’s flight was the third-best that I’ve counted this fall, with four species providing the counting action, though another five species were present (Black and Turkey vultures, Red-shouldered and Red-tailed hawks (one juvenile each), and Crested Caracara (two first thing in the morning).  The highlight and was provided by the Bird of the Day, a very high duo of Swallow-tailed Kites that almost slipped by Winnie and me until being found off to the west heading to the SW.

Raptors counted:

  • Swallow-tailed Kite – 2
  • Mississippi Kite – 4 (juveniles)
  • Cooper’s Hawk – 2 (juveniles)
  • Broad-winged Hawk – 6 (juveniles)
  • Total – 14

Today’s eBird checklist

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