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East Winds – Migration Continues

September 19, 2011

Ospreys, Peregrines, Merlins, and a spurt of Harriers captured our attention today.

Weather forecasts had predicted rain and strong winds out of the east, but we did not get much rain other than a mild shower the first 20 minutes, and winds were not in the blustery strengths anticipated. However, winds maintained at an average of 7km/h (4.3mph) out of the east, pushing flights far inland and at considerable heights.

The totals for today are as follows:

Osprey – 24
Swallow-tailed Kite – 3
Northern Harrier – 4
Bald Eagle – 2
Broad-winged Hawk – 1
Merlin – 10
Peregrine Falcon – 24
Unidentified Bute0 – 1
Total – 69

Most Ospreys moved through during the first hours, with a number of birds flying directly into the wind and east towards the ocean on uninterrupted powered flight. But by midday, nearly all tallied “southbound” birds moved NE to SW along the bayside.

Merlins were off to an early start, with 9 birds by midday – most of them flying relatively low and easy to miss among the Buttonwoods. Peregrines continued throughout the day in an even flow, most of them moving far inland and clipping fast on powered flight.

Northern Harriers were 4 today, with a nice variety of birds. The first was an adult female – possibly an older bird – judging by extensive grayer plumage on the upperparts. The bird that followed was a juv., and the third looked like a 2nd year male. The last bird was a silhouette against the afternoon sky.

Bald Eagles have been present every day at the site, with possible resident birds flying back and forth, and “southbound” birds on uninterrupted trajectories. By now we have seen eagles in juv., 2nd to 4th year subadult plumages, and adults. Today’s “migrant” eagles were 2 adult birds.

Accipiters were a no-show today, with only a local Cooper’s Hawk diving in – but apparently not really trying – on a perched nighthawk.

Three Swallow-tailed Kites played disappearing acts on us. The first was sighted during the second hour – suddenly over the bathhouse – not be relocated anywhere in the sky, even when standing from the southside deck. Two more did exactly the same thing in the afternoon. Go figure.

We had excellent coverage of the skies today. The counters were Dan Click, Jim Eager and Rafael Galvez. We welcomed Tedor Whitman to his first Monday at the site – he scanned the skies with vigilance and care. Fabrizio Santoro once again joined us, honing-in on his skills as a new hawkwatcher; and Bonnie McCrady stood guard – ever-watchful for migrant raptors and passerines.

Below, counters follow inland Peregrines; six were seen during this period. From left to right: Tedor, Jim, Dan and Bonnie. It was Dan’s last day this month; we will miss his strategic positioning, knowledge, and the scent of Black & Milds.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Susan Sorensen permalink
    September 20, 2011 5:56 pm

    You’re absolutely right about the birds moving to the bayside; late today around 3:30 at MM59 I noticed our resident flock of pigeons overhead circling en mass very erratic and as nervous as a long-tailed cat in a room full of rockers. Looking high above them, I counted a dozen raptors gliding southward over the bay. A couple looked like broad-wings, but the tails on the majority were definitely accipiter. They were spread fairly wide apart from each other but totally looked as if the airborne division had been called in. Beautiful sight to see!!

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