Posted by: jkennedy366 | 6 October 2013

October 6 Hawks and what to do in the rain

There forecast was for a great cold front to sweep in the birds but some forecasts stated that there would be possible showers which understated the 3 hour break in the count during the morning after a great start and really good looks at birds in the after noon. However there is a lot to do during showers at Smith Point.

If nothing else you can track down the local Indian Peafowl that have been breeding there forever. The males are currently in great plumage and were getting ready to dry their feathers then the rain ended.

Indian Peahen in the rain

Indian Peafowl in the rain

The hawks do not suffer the rain as well as shown by this soggy group of Mississippi kites trying to get out of the point

Mississippi kites in the rain

Mississippi Kites in the rain

A piping plover was out in Robbins Park which still had some water in the parking lot as the north wind was bring in water from that direction. They are not uncommon but not expected and probably come with the roosting semipalmated plovers.

Piping Plover in Robbins Park

Piping Plover in Robbins Park

Waterbirds and hawks do flock together at the hawkwatch and can be more mixed than this

Anhingas and hawk

Anhingas and Broad-winged Hawk

Waterbirds can have distinct markings as well as hawks. These two wood storks passed many times during the afternoon either overhead our well out front. One of them has a nice round bullet-like hole in a wing as do some hawks going over.

Wood stork with bullet hole

Wood Stork with bullet-like hole

Most broad-winged hawks now are young of the year birds but there are still numbers of adults going by. As the season continues, the percent of young goes up to almost 100%.

Adult Broad-winged Hawk

Adult Broad-winged Hawk

And young of the year made up most of the birds overhead

Adult young of the year broad-wing

Juvenile Broad-winged Hawk

Many of the birds going by the tower are also watching the watchers as shown by this Mississippi kite

Watching the watchers

Watching the watchers

When I first looked at my pictures for the day, it appeared that this kite was carrying a radio on its back.

Kite with tail mark

Juvenile Mississippi Kite with tail marker?

The outer tail feather actually mimicked an antenna in the viewer

Mississippi kite with tail marker

Mississippi kite with tail marker?

Working with the pictures, however, showed that the “radio” was actually caused by an injured or overgrown toe exending up through the tail and forcing the last uppertail coverts to stick up over the tail like a sail. Not something expected.

kite with toes

Juvenile Mississippi Kite with toes

It was a good day for scissor-tailed flycatchers going by the tower. The olive-sided flycatcher was gone but a couple of eastern kingbirds were found in town during the rain. A snipe and stilt sandpiper were out in the flooded areas out the point. The restaurant pond in smith point is too full for shorebirds.

Not sure that the local birds agree that is a great day for the hawk watch as many of the accipiters later in the day went by with full crops. Still lots of doves in town to feed them.

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