Posted by: susanaheath | 14 September 2015

SPHW 9/13/15 (416 raptors)

Hello all,

Tad and I (Sue) did the count on Sunday because Bob was away at his brother’s wedding. When we arrived at 7:30am there were already Mississippi Kites flying around. The morning continued with several large kite kettles through about 10:00 or 11:00 and then things slowed down considerably. There were Broad-wings and a few other species intermixed and in the early afternoon two Northern Harriers graced us with their presence. The rest of the afternoon was mostly a few Broad-wings flying over the oak mottes and trying to decide whether they should stay or go. I don’t have the exact numbers because we left the data sheet at the tower for Bob but approximate numbers are:

Over 300 Mississippi Kites
1 Swallow-tailed Kite
approximately 80 Broad-winged Hawks
2 Merlin
3 American Kestrel
2 Northern Harrier

We were treated to lots of Baltimore Orioles throughout the day and at one point there were six of them around the bird drip/bath that we created along the pond edge. A local Cooper’s Hawk buzzed them and put an end to that show though. I walked through the north oak motte which always seems to be best in fall and found a beautiful male Cape May Warbler that no one else could find later unfortunately. Also several Canadas, Black and White, Wilson’s, Hooded, Black-throated Green, and American Redstart. Later I walked through the east oak motte and found an Ovenbird and a Black and White. While tromping through the brush I spooked up an Eastern Whip-poor-will and then later a Chuck-will’s-widow. The size difference between the two was striking. Also in the afternoon a young Red-headed Woodpecker flew past the tower and spent some time in the bare trees in the south oak motte. Because it had the gray plumage of a young bird, it blended right in with the dead trees and we had to wait for it to fly and show its big white wing patches before we could find it again every time someone else wanted to see it. I only saw one Olive-sided Flycatcher but others said there were more. Last week we saw 5 there. Smith Point certainly seems to be a good spot for them in the fall.

So another great day at the point. Thanks to all who made donations and bought t-shirts. We still have lots of t-shirts featuring a Swallow-tailed Kite photo taken by Tony Leukering with his signature so come on by and pick one up.

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