Posted by: jasonbojczyk | 10 August 2014

Great Morning Flight

Today’s Count: 4

Swainson’s Hawk-2

Broad-winged Hawk-2

Additional Raptors Seen:

Black Vulture-2

Turkey Vulture-4

Crested Caracara-1

Today’s raptor highlights were these 2 Swainson’s Hawks:

Swainson's Hawks

Swainson’s Hawks

The morning flight was awesome and overwhelming for the first hour of the count.  Of the 57 species seen from the tower today, 41 were seen in that hour alone.  It’s one of those catch 22s where you’re happy there’s a bunch of birds going by, but just a little frustrated knowing you’re missing birds.  Highlights of that first hour include:

Tricolored Heron-39

White Ibis-28

American Avocet-5

Lesser Yellowlegs-3

Least Sandpiper-1

White-winged Dove-51

Mourning Dove-15

Ruby-throated Hummingbird-9

Eastern Kingbird-3

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher-1

Cliff/Cave Swallow-904

Barn Swallow-202

Swallow Species-308

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher-53

Painted Bunting-4


Orchard Oriole-13

Just 3 of the day's 45 Tricolored Herons

Just 3 of the day’s 45 Tricolored Herons

With the rest of the birds seen that hour it was roughly a new bird about every 2 seconds for just over an hour.  After that things remained steady and some of the above species significantly increased their daily totals.  White Ibis got up to 338, White-winged Doves reached 80, Swallows totaled over 2,500, and Blue-gray Gnatcatchers came in force ending the day with at least 202 of them.  Other highlights today included 4 American White Pelicans, 19 Anhinga, a Reddish Egret, 3 Black-necked Stilts, a nice push of 34 Willets before a front that never hit Smith Point, and 5 Upland Sandpipers.

Magnificent Frigatebird

Magnificent Frigatebird

At Robbins Park, there was the most activity I’ve seen there so far with over 1,500 birds present of all the expected species.  Brown Pelicans, Laughing Gulls, and Sandwich Terns made up the majority of this number.  Elsewhere, shorebird numbers remain the same or slightly better.  Now there’s 8 Stilt Sandpipers and the Turnstones have surpassed 50 in number.  Twenty-two Black-necked Stilts is the most I’ve seen at Smith Point this fall as well.

An evening watch from the tower for an hour and a half resulted in decent Brown Pelican, tern, and wader movement.  In particular there were well over 100 Snowy Egrets. Eight Common Nighthawks flying around were nice as well as 2 Great Horned Owls flying from telephone pole to telephone pole.

Moonrise over the mottes

Moonrise over the mottes

Tomorrow looks like more south winds but if it’s as good as today was for other birds, I’ll take it.  One forecast shows the possibility of Tuesday being northwest winds and if that’s the case it should be a decent raptor day then.


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