Posted by: jkennedy366 | 21 September 2013

September 21, Rain and then more rain

The forecasts on Friday evening seemed to change and vary but I got up early and saw some stars in breaks in the clouds and the internet showed that the rain was over. Left home and it was nice but half way up to I10 or 1.5 miles it was raining and it rained all the way to the turnoff for the hawk watch. But then it stopped and by the time I hit the T intersection at 1985, it has 50% clear off to the east. Drizzle started again but there was an hour to poke around and a bit at the tower before the little patch of rain to the west expanded. The groups that cancelled their trip were right.

Driving down there were new sights including puddles. Down near 1985 lots of turkey vultures and 3 broad-winged hawks were up drying in the nice weather. The pool past white heron estates had water but only western sandpipers along the near shore. The pond at the abandoned restaurant in smith point had 5 stilt sandpipers. Not sure where they go for part of the day but other fresh water ponds are scarce.

There were good numbers of shorebirds out toward Robbins Park including 2 baird’s sandpipers that stopped on the road. Only a few oystercatchers and semipalmated sandpipers were largely replaced by westerns.

A banded white phase reddish egret carried a white on blue F35 band plus the USFWS band. It was around all day. Later in the day on an incoming tide some black terns joined the other birds which were highlighted by a perfectly molted and immaculate forster’s tern.

The land bird of the day was dickcissel with large flocks bouncing around in the rain.

Oh, and hawks. There is an increasing number of turkey vultures in the area but they appear to be gathering rather than migrating. A harrier and cooper’s hawks moved in the am. Birds on wires included red-tailed, red-shouldered, American kestrel and crested caracara.

Waiting all day for the rain to stop and the hawks to start took until after 3pm. One osprey went across earlier and one perched east of the tower. A local merlin passed by. Then late a single swallow-tailed kite passed to the west, came back, circled and was last seen in really powered flight to Laporte. And at the very end of the count and a few minutes before 4pm 11 Mississippi kites hung around to be ready to migrate in the morning. And there was a peregrine. A couple of broad-winged hawks around town never flew.

There is hope for tomorrow. On the way home and a couple of miles north of the 1985 T, a flock of wood storks headed west. They passed through a kettle of 75 or so Mississippi kites descending into the trees to roost. The forecast is great for hawks but then I did not go back to bed today either.

Lots of sharp-shinned hawks and broad-winged hawks are going by watches to the north so they will get here.

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