Posted by: jasonbojczyk | 11 August 2014

Things Starting to Pick Up

Today’s Count: 9

Broad-winged Hawk-6

Swainson’s Hawk-3

Additional Raptors Seen:

Black Vulture-20

Turkey Vulture-5

Cooper’s Hawk-1

Crested Caracara-1

Compared to recent days, raptors picked up today both in numbers and in height.  The Swainson’s came in one group as did most of the Broad-wingeds in another but birds were high today.  There were several hour or more stretches between raptors and lots of blue sky to scan through.  It’s tougher scanning the empty blue on the slower days (as far as coming up empty more frequently) but sometimes there are surprises, like today. After not a single thing moving for quite some time, bam, way up in the sky is the day’s largest White Ibis flock, consisting of 147 birds, as well as 20 Black Vultures and a Broad-winged.  These birds came out of nowhere and the increase in Black Vultures at that altitude was intriguing.  The only low raptor was the Caracara so here’s yet another picture of it to fill in for the raptor category:

One-two Crested Caracaras are making regular passes by the tower

One-two Crested Caracaras are making regular passes by the tower

Well, today was indeed as good as yesterday, so I was a happy counter even with the continued south winds!  In fact, the morning flight was even better than yesterday with about 2,000 birds in just the first hour, again being mostly swallows.  A nice flock of Willets passed by the tower during this time as well.

Most of the flock of 23 Willets

Most of the flock of 23 Willets

While Common Nighthawks weren't exactly numerous today, they provided a pretty good viewing by the tower

While Common Nighthawks weren’t exactly numerous today, they provided a pretty good viewing by the tower

 

W

One of today’s themes was definitely White Ibis, with 667 passing through today

Blue-gray Gnatcatchers continued through most of the day and 277 were tallied today.  Other highlights from the 52 species seen on the tower today included 4 American White Pelicans, 27 Magnificent Frigatebirds, 43 Wood Storks, 4 Upland Sandpipers, 74 White-winged Doves and over 2,000 swallows, mostly comprised of the usual but 4 Purple Martins and 7 Bank Swallows were mixed in as well.

Wood Storks had their best day of the season so far but we certainly have a lot more of these to come

Wood Storks had their best day of the season so far but we certainly have a lot more of these to come

Shorebirds continue to pick up in the area, with 28 Stilt Sandpipers and a Marbled Godwit being the highlights today.  Tomorrow’s forecast is still receiving mixed forecasts as far as wind direction, but if it is north winds we will almost certainly have the best raptor day at this point in the season.  While still a lot of fun, I don’t think it’ll be as epic as I was expecting earlier in the season. Thanks to Marvin for his help today.

Royal Terns pass by the tower daily

Royal Terns pass by the tower daily

 

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