Thursday, April 23, 2009

There's always tomorrow...

Hawk migration: it's all about the weather. Today was certainly an improvement over recent days, but ultimately a disappointment, as those promised southerly winds didn't happen until very near the end of today's count. So still no broadwings, and curiously also no Ospreys today. What did we get? Well, 5 Golden Eagles is nothing to sneeze at, and it was also nice to get three falcon species, including an adult and immature Peregrine Falcon, flying side by side.

From late morning onwards, Red-tailed Hawks made numerous failed attempts at crossing. For a while, it seemed as if there were huge numbers of redtails moving through, but I believe that to be an optical illusion, created by the same hundred or so redtails over and over again. I counted a maximum of 112 in the air at the same time.

Among them two dark morphs, possibly the same individuals that have been on Whitefish Point for nearly a week now. I've seen three different dark redtails this week. The one with the wing damage wasn't seen again today, so that bird has probably moved on.

Like the bird with the damaged secondary that I posted a photo of two days ago, this bird is an intermediate morph: not completely dark, but with a rufous breast, some rufous lining to the underwing coverts, and barred undertail coverts. It's a neat-looking bird.

Day total 'only' got to 345, with 16 Turkey Vultures, 4 Bald Eagles, 21 Northern Harriers, 120 Sharp-shinned Hawks, 1 Cooper's Hawk, 2 Northern Goshawks, 112 Red-tailed Hawks, 54 Rough-legged Hawks, 5 Golden Eagles, 7 American Kestrels, 1 Merlin and 2 Peregine Falcons.

An interesting sighting was an early Indigo Bunting flyover.

I thought that today was going to be one of two really big days. I even started an hour earlier, but soon found out that was quite unnecessary. Today, the flight didn't really get going until the afternoon. Tomorrow, though, should be very good, unless of course the weather again plays out quite different from the forecast.

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