Posted by: 3pomjaeger3 | 19 September 2013

19 September: What’s with the rain?

rain-smithpoint-9-19-13-tl-1-cropscreen-lowresI must still be wearing my rain-attracting shorts, because I started the day with rain, ended it with rain, and had two spots of rain during the middle of the day.  The pictured storm got bigger and barreled down on the tower, forcing me to put the expensive and perishable stuff in the lock box.  It really rained for only four minutes at the tower, but, still.  All photos copyright 19 September 2013 by Tony Leukering.  Click on image(s) to see larger version(s).

The liftoff this morning was delayed by various bits of rain and threatening clouds, but Mississippi Kites eventually put on a good show, with some variable chunk of the 150 counted birds visible for much of the morning after 10 am.  When 69 of them wandered over to the tower and circled around right overhead, they became The Bird of the Day. They also provided the worth of the cost of admission for two women that came on spec, having read the article in the Chronicle about a month back.  I told them that they should remember their binoculars next time.

The hummers also put on quite a show today.  There weren’t spectacular numbers, but there were always a lot of them at the feeders, except for a short period in early afternoon.  Unfortunately, I saw no Rufous today.  There was also one fewer hummer in the afternoon than there were in the morning.  That is because a female Merlin made an incredibly stealthy attack run and plucked one virtually off the front feeder on the upper deck!  I did not see her coming, so got no pictures, but if I had….  I saw her at the end of the day heading east, and I was prepared to count her if she boogied on out toward Bolivar, but she turned back north, so counting her will have to wait for another day.

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher tally:  11

ssha-juv-smithpoint-9-19-13-tl-1-cropscreen-lowresIn the largest Sharp-shinned Hawk flight of the season, this juvenile was one of three tallied today, beating the counted Cooper’s by one.  So, the species is starting its run to take over dominance of the accipiter show at Smith Point, as they always do.  This year, due to the very poor early season, their job will be considerably easier, as Cooper’s numbers are abysmally low, relative to average.

Raptors counted:

  • Swallow-tailed Kite – 1
  • Mississippi Kite – 150
  • Sharp-shinned Hawk – 3 (juveniles)
  • Cooper’s Hawk – 2 (juveniles)
  • Broad-winged Hawk – 15 (juveniles)
  • American Kestrel – 1 (female)
  • Total – 172

This weekend is looking quite lovely and I am hoping that the weather gods don’t change their minds.  Currently, it looks like Saturday morning might be slow, depending upon both exactly when the rain stops and when the N wind starts, but I’m expecting good things for that afternoon.  Sunday was looking like a dream, but those same weather gods changed the wind direction from N to NE.  It will still be the first whole day after the passage of a cold front — assuming that the thing does, indeed, pass, so it should be quite tasty, even with the not-quite-so-wonderful wind direction.  I’d suggest getting here early, because the person limit on the upper deck is 20.  But, if you get there before I do, don’t take my spot, right next to the center pole under the roof.

Today’s eBird checklist

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