Posted by: jkennedy366 | 25 August 2013

August 24 Epitome of flying weather

Yesterday had the best hawk flying to smith point weather for an august date. Blue or partly cloudy skies, good wind, good wind far to the north and east and nothing to hinder the birds. But almost no birds to use the good flying weather.

A few regular locals, a scattering of broad-winged, cooper’s and a late in the day kestrel. The large waterbirds all had a kettle including anhinga, wood stork, white pelican and white ibis. However, almost all were way up high and when white pelicans become tiny specks that means really high. Perhaps they were practicing to fly by Hazel Bazemore.

One cooper’s hawk before 10 am and 1 Mississippi kite later in the pm were the closer in migrants.

The last bird over the tower as I left was the closest bird of the day.

Molting male magnificent frigatebird

Molting male magnificent frigatebird

Molting male magnificent frigatebird

Molting male magnificent frigatebird

If the bird comes over again, its molt will allow it to be identified in at least the short term. This has been one of the best years for frigatebirds; one group of 11 was out over the bay and a couple were with the other specks high over the tower

There were land bird migrants around including several yellow-breasted chats that jip-jipped out front with several hanging around the edge of the gator pond. 4 olive-sided flycatchers topped out the dead trees, and empidonax, kingbirds, crested flycatchers were there too.

There were more of the flycatchers moving out Hawkins Camp Road before 8am along with a larger number of gnatcatchers than were passing the tower. 23 oystercatchers were out on an island waiting for someone to bring breakfast. The large flock (150+) of least terns was using the long dock for a roost for much of the morning but did not feed near the tower. A single spotted sandpiper was out by the park.

While phones with apps to show the radar and winds all around the site, something is needed to show if any birds are using the wind. There still is a disconnect between when birds come and when birds should come. I had the same problem when I was banding back in the ’60s which I attributed to bad flying conditions when land birds should have taken off the night before. But hawks don’t take off until morning and morning yesterday was great to take off and move.

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