Posted by: 3pomjaeger3 | 21 October 2013

20 October: Even more dark-morph Broad-winged Hawks!

sunrise-smithpoint-10-20-13-tl-01-origThis morning’s sunrise was not overtly spectacular, but was subtly quite lovely, as the early sunlight played with the crystalline higher clouds.  All photos copyright 20 October 2013 by Tony Leukering.  Click on image(s) to see larger version(s).

This AM, I woke expecting the forecast-last-night E winds, only to find out that I had NE winds, instead. That got me moving even more quickly, and I was at the tower by 7:15 to see that Cliff and Sharon had beaten me there.

A goodly number of visitors arrived fairly early this AM, presumably in hopes of seeing dark Broad-winged Hawks (BW), after yesterday’s whopping 28 of ’em (a typical season’s total is ~3). Unlike yesterday, there was little in the way of an early-morning Sharpie-Kestrel flight to keep our minds off our cold toes in the 12-deg temps. The BWs started getting up relatively early — 9:15, and the desperate search ensued. That hour saw an even 50 BWs, all juvs and all light. The next hour’s 356 BWs included, yippee!, four dark ones! The visitors were happy, but I did not have enough celebratory Pepperidge Farm Nantuckets to go ’round, so ate both of ’em myself.

As the air warmed and the clouds vanished, the BWs climbed higher and higher and I found them harder to find and harder to count. But, the numbers also climbed:

11-noon: 233 BWs, 2 dark
12-1 pm: 802 BWs, 3 dark; also the first dark Red-tailed of the season
1-2 pm: 513 BWs, 8 dark
2-3 pm: 494 BWs, 6 dark
3-4 pm: 310 BWs, 6 dark

That makes totals of 2758 BWs and TWENTY-NINE dark!!!! And that makes a two-day weekend total of 8335 BWs, of which 57 were dark morphs!!!!!!!!

Raptors counted:

  • Black Vulture – 9
  • Turkey Vulture – 66
  • Northern Harrier – 17
  • Sharp-shinned Hawk – 34
  • Cooper’s Hawk – 69
  • Red-shouldered Hawk – 1 (juvenile)
  • Broad-winged Hawk – 2758
  • Swainson’s Hawk – 22
  • Red-tailed Hawk – 1 (dark juvenile)
  • American Kestrel – 14
  • Total – 2991

Yesterday’s big big-waterbird mover was Wood Stork, today’s was the other huge black-and-white species. In fact, we saw just one Wood Stork today. The 717 Am. White Pelicans included individual flocks of 114 and a whopping 245 (counted on my laptop screen). I saw just one flock of Gr. White-fronted Geese (28), but two flocks of Mottled Ducks, oddly totaling 28. Ron Weeks is probably wishing that he could trade yesterday’s Marbled Godwit for today’s Long-billed Curlew.

The landbird story was a much-improved one today, with four sp. of warblers that included a brief, fly-by Prairie and a Western Palm Warbler (Nina hogged an adult male Am. Redstart). A fly-by adult male Rose-breasted Grosbeak was so orange on the chest (with the help of the low, morning sun) that I initially called out ‘Black-headed Grosbeak.’ My pix got me to the correct answer.  An adult Eastern White-crowned Sparrow was the first of its ilk for the season, but the best landbird of the day was a FOS Pine Siskin that nicely called overhead and gave us a brief, but good, view of it overhead, yellow wing stripe displayed nicely.

Today’s eBird checklist

stfl-smithpoint-10-20-13-tl-01-cropscreen-lowresWith all of the hawk-ogling going on, the good count of 193 Scissor-tailed Flycatchers was hardly noticed.

eame-smithpoint-10-20-13tl-01-cropscreen-lowresMeadowlarks went by in largish numbers — 30, though I identified only two to species, both Easterns, with this being one of ’em.  Note the extensively white tail with the sides of the dark part of the tail being parallel to each other, creating a rectangle of dark.  In Western Meadowlark, the sides of the dark part are parallel to the tail’s outer edges, creating a trapezoid of dark.

baor-smithpoint-10-20-13-tl-1-cropscreen-lowresThis late Baltimore Oriole put in an early appearance, but was not seen again.

dick-smithpoint-10-20-13-tl-1-cropscreen-lowresAlso on the late side were four Dickcissels; one of the flock of three pictured here.

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