Monday, October 5, 2009

[One of a kind bird, this is the leucistic Osprey that crossed Delaware Bay in 25 minutes yesterday. We know we didn't count this one twice!! Photo by Karl Lukens, click to enlarge.]

Apparently where I should have been yesterday is on the hawk watch platform, based on reports from Josh (below) and others. No small consolation, that is exactly where I was this morning, after listening for nocturnal migrants for a while. It was very windy, west at 10-20, and I heard no migrants in the dark

The raptors, however, were a different story, with a strong steady flight of American Kestrels and Sharp-shinned Hawks, which combined for over 100 an hour through 10:00 a.m. Peregrines were almost absent, at least so far, but there was a healthy dollop of Bald Eagles, Ospreys, harriers, Broad-wingeds, Cooper's Hawks and Merlins.

I'd probably make a lousy official hawk counter if I had to do it all the time, instead of the few hours of swing counting I do here and there, because it is too easy to be distracted by non-raptors. Especially in Cape May when birds are flying. Several American Pipits flew by, and a group of three Eastern Meadowlarks passed on the dune side of the platform and then fluttered into the wind over the parking lot for great views. Lots of Yellow-rumped and Palm Warblers were engaged in morning flight - I hear Higbee had a lot of birds flying and not much perching - and I detected 4 Cape May Warblers passing together as 2 sets of 2, plus a Northern Waterthrush, numerous Indigo Buntings and others from the hawk watch. A single flock containing 17 Wood Ducks was my high count of fall so far, and several Northern Pintails were about, as well. Of interest, at least to me, were flocks of passing Killdeer that totaled 130 birds by 10:00 a.m. The sky always had birds this morning - Cedar Waxwings, Red-winged Blackbirds, cowbirds, passing terns including a group 7 Caspians, swallows. . .it's a good day, hope you're out somewhere.

[Willet and Marbled Godwit, by Karl Lukens.]

[Flight i.d. of dragonflies, in this case a Black Saddlebags, photo by Michael O'Brien.]

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