Posted by: jasonbojczyk | 25 August 2014

Kites Arrive in Numbers!

Today’s Count: 1,512

Osprey-2

Swallow-tailed Kite-7

Mississippi Kite-1,427

Sharp-shinned Hawk-1

Cooper’s Hawk-4

Broad-winged Hawk-60

Swainson’s Hawk-11

Additional Raptors Seen:

Black Vulture-14

Turkey Vulture-3

Swallow-tailed Kite-1 (post-count)

Red-shouldered Hawk-1

White-tailed Hawk-1

Red-tailed Hawk-2

The predicted weather forecast for today barely turned out to be true. I arrived at the tower just before 7 and the winds should’ve been NNW, but they were WSW. Then it went to W for a few hours, then N for an hour and a half, and then SW. Irregardless it was an excellent day, with the raptors finally the obvious highlight of the day! We had our best day in terms of both numbers and diversity (12 species). For the first few hours there wasn’t too much, but a few Swallow-tailed Kites arrived before any Mississippi Kites did.

The first Swallow-tailed Kite of the day

The first Swallow-tailed Kite of the day

Swainson’s did put on a good showing early and there was another small kettle of Broad-wingeds, but once the winds started switching to the north this started happening:

One of my favorite views annually seen from the tower. Swallow-tailed Kite (center) surrounded by Mississippi Kites

One of my favorite views annually seen from the tower. Swallow-tailed Kite (center) surrounded by Mississippi Kites

And this:

Red-tailed Hawk

Red-tailed Hawk

And this:

Red-shouldered Hawk

Red-shouldered Hawk

And this again:

Swallow-tailed Kite

Swallow-tailed Kite

And this:

One of today's 4 Wood Storks

One of today’s 4 Wood Storks

And this:

What????

What????

Still confused?

Still confused?

Well, that's exactly what I was when I saw this-very confused! So I just took a bunch of pictures. It came in looking very small and with that neck and split tail, very weird. More tomorrow.

Well, that’s exactly what I was when I saw this-very confused! So I just took a bunch of pictures. It came in looking very small and with that neck and split tail, very weird. More tomorrow on this bird.

The Kite show was pretty incredible, and adding even more to an enjoyable day was how easy they were to count. Finding where the reliable and consistent flight line(s) is/are makes things much more pleasant, especially when they head west and out of sight for good. Today’s flight line of Mississppis came from the ENE and they all headed west rather quickly, most of them streaming by, but occasionally briefly kettling. The largest stream was 264 Mississippi Kites.

 

Today’s morning flight was pretty great too with highlights being 1 Solitary Sandpiper, over 150 White-winged Doves, 15 Hummingbirds, 17 Eastern Kingbirds, 41 Yellow Warblers, 1 Blue Grosbeak, 26 Dickcissels, 8 Great-tailed Grackles, and 13 Orchard Orioles.

Yellow Warbler

Yellow Warbler

Solitary Sandpiper

Solitary Sandpiper

Eastern Kingbird

Eastern Kingbird

 

Gnatcatchers started late and peaked from 9:30-10:30. The day ended with a very respectable 811. White Ibis reached over 400 and Anhinga hit around 180. Another amazing swallow show that was mostly high throughout the day, with over 16,000 for the day, but probably several thousand more.

Tomorrow’s forecast is looking like winds somewhere between NE and E, and likely showers at some point. Perhaps it’ll be another great day before the rain hits.

This Swallow-tailed came not too long after the official count ended. It'd be distinctive if seen again or somewhere else because of its missing and/or bent primaries

This Swallow-tailed came not too long after the official count ended. It’d be distinctive if seen again or somewhere else because of its missing and/or bent primaries

It was a very hot evening and I felt bad for the 30+ Common Nighthawks that were dealing with this heat.

It was a very hot evening and I felt bad for the 30+ Common Nighthawks that were dealing with this heat

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

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

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com 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 )

Google+ photo

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

Connecting to %s

Categories

%d bloggers like this: