Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Same diversity, three times as many birds

It was a very pleasant day at the hawk watch today, with the same fifteen species on the tally as yesterday, but in much higher numbers. Three times as many Sharp-shinned Hawks today as yesterday, and the vast majority of them zipping by low and close. Yesterday, many birds remained distant and were probably best viewed from the eastern side of the Point. Today, with SE winds, birds were right overhead, like this adult Broad-winged Hawk.

Still no 'big push' of broadwings but smaller 'kettles' were seen on the horizon and a few birds casually came in for better views. Total number of broadwings counted today was 60, similar to yesterday's count. Other counts included 15 Turkey Vultures, 3 Osprey, 2 Bald Eagles, 19 Northern Harriers, 1,324 Sharp-shinned Hawks, 4 Cooper's Hawks, 1 juvenile Northern Goshawk, 1 juvenile Red-shouldered Hawk, 41 Red-tailed Hawks, 30 Rough-legged Hawks, 1 Golden Eagle, 24 American Kestrels, 3 Merlins and 1 adult Peregrine Falcon.

With the snow on the ground melting quickly now, it was evidently a great day for 'big white birds' on the move, because the first hour of the count had a flyby Snowy Owl and Caspian Tern, while later in the morning I saw three American White Pelicans. After that, I sort of expected to see a Great Egret or at least a Glaucous Gull, but didn't...

Other sightings included 73 Yellow-rumped Warblers counted as flyover migrants; a Pine Warbler singing in the tree next to the platform; 3 seen and several heard Evening Grosbeaks; and 17 Common Loon flyovers.

Tomorrow morning should be great, for as long as the rain holds off...

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