Posted by: 3pomjaeger3 | 18 October 2013

18 October: Another low-overcast day

sunrise-smithpoint-10-18-13-tl-01-screen-lowresPerhaps the best part of the day, this was the most spectacular sunrise I’ve seen at a place with typically spectacular sunrises!  All photos copyright 18 October 2013 by Tony Leukering.  Click on image(s) to see larger version(s).

With low overcast again dominating the sky — but with occasional peeks at blue sky with puffy white, the east wind (not the forecast NE) got Sharp-shinned Hawks up early and moving both east and west.  When the overcast cleared and the wind swung to ENE, Broad-winged Hawks began filling the sky to the west.  However, the better conditions were short-lived and the flight became a bit chaotic, but most of the Broad-wingeds were apparently coming south along the Trinity Bay shore and then heading out to the east into the E wind.

Raptors counted:

  • Turkey Vulture – 16
  • Osprey – 1
  • Northern Harrier – 5
  • Sharp-shinned Hawk – 62
  • Cooper’s Hawk – 8 (juveniles)
  • Broad-winged Hawk – 250
  • Swainson’s Hawk – 1 (adult)
  • American Kestrel – 20 (2 males, 6 females, 12 unknown)
  • Merlin – 2 (including an adult male that obligingly perched in the East Motte for a bit, becoming the lifer for a couple of visitors)
  • Total – 365

Despite the interesting hawk flight, the show was stolen by White Ibis, today.  They did not move very much early, as they usually do on big flight days, but visitor Ken picked up on an over-the-Bay-behind-us flight line and some huge flocks went by out there.  I’d gone all season before today without having to estimate the numbers of a single flock — that is, I managed to count (by ones) every flock that I’d seen.  These huge and distant flocks bolting by on the brisk E wind just would not allow that in all instances.  Though I noted only 34 flocks, ten of those were triple-digit flocks, with the max of an estimated 420.  The day’s total was a record (for me at the Smith Point tower) of 3167.

bbwd-smithpoint-10-18-13-tl-1-cropscreen-lowresThe bird show started this morning with this flock of 14 Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks, shortly after the sun got above the cloud layer, ending the morning’s spectacular sunrise.

Landbirds were dominated by flycatchers and buntings; even the Blue Jay avalanche came to a screeching slow-down today (“just” 55 moving today).  As has been typical since the last cold front, Mourning Dove numbers were high again today.  Great-tailed Grackles have been ganging up together and have been much more visible from the tower than the first two months of the season; I tallied 150 in six flocks.

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher tally:  5

inbu-smithpoint-10-18-13-tl-1-cropscreen-lowresThis is one of 41 Indigo Buntings flying by the tower this morning, many of which I tried to turn into warblers.  Ah, well.  The only warbler was a Nashville in the front oaks.

eaph-smithpoint-10-18-13-tl-1-cropscreen-lowresToday saw a big hit of Eastern Phoebes, with at least six on station at one time around the tower.  For a species that does not play nicely together, seeing three in a small space on the Bay shore was a bit odd.

stfl-im-smithpoint-10-18-13-tl-01-cropscreen-lowresScissor-tailed Flycatchers made the best showing of, admittedly, a very poor season.  But, the tally of 380 passing the tower going east would have been a highlight in nearly any season.

clouds-smithpoint-10-18-13-tl-1-screen-lowresThe end of the day came early, with lowering clouds and spitting rain and the foreboding of a large storm that showed orange on the radar at its center, and it was heading my way.

Today’s eBird checklist

Thanks to the Hansons for hosting me this evening so that I could use their Internet access.  The Smith Point restaurant at which I had obtained Internet access has apparently gone out of business, and it was the only source of public access in town.  With the Anahuac Library being the next-best bet, but only open until 5 pm on most days, I have little in the way of options to post to this blog.  Thus, I will probably not be able to post but once or twice a week for the remainder of the season.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: