Posted by: jkennedy366 | 13 November 2013

November 13, almost the end and still broad-wings

It was a cold day on the tower when the count started and with the temperature at 35 or 36 with strong winds, one could say that it was uncomfortable. Not many landbirds around in the wind and those that did appear could not be heard. But lots of waterbirds kept the back of the tower busy including common loon and horned grebes on the water and lots of ducks and geese overhead. But the season stalwart large water birds were absent.

On the way down 562 and a little below Jackson road, turkey vultures were already in the air by 6:35 and were joined by a bald eagle without much white below. It headed in the direction of the tower but the bird seen there was a younger bird. The eagle posed great but with wind, cold, watering eyes and focusing through the bottom of the bifocals things did not come out that well but close eagles are great in any case.

First year bald eagle

First year bald eagle

First year bald eagle

First year bald eagle

Hawks with injuries to the wing or wing feathers are seen all season and help to identify kettles passing by more than one time. At the end of the season, the percentage of injured birds increases as they migrate slower and later than normal birds if they do not stop or die on the way. This broad-winged hawk has more damage than many but still flew well in the wind.

Late season broad-wing with a bad wing.

Late season broad-wing with a bad wing.

Adult turkey vultures are still in molt and this bird still has very irregular feather edges unlike the smooth wings of the young of the year

adult turkey vulture

adult turkey vulture

5 hooded mergansers were on the town pond (next to the abandoned red restaurant) as I arrived and were diving for food. As the pond basically went dry a month ago there were not there a bit later.

Hooded mergansers at the town pond

Hooded mergansers at the town pond

And Pete the nanday parakeet was cold. He found a good perch in the sun but sheltered from the wind and did not move.

Pete the nanday parakeet

Pete the nanday parakeet

The hawk count officially lasts through Friday but today may have been last day with a good cold front even if it was too cold. Almost none of the large buteos that often come with such fronts and only a small number of turkey vultures accumulated early but there was almost 100 birds with the last sighting of the big flock. But one cannot knock a couple dozen broad-winged hawks on November 13th.

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