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On the Eve of 5000

October 5, 2011

By Rafael A. Gálvez

74 Peregrines; Ospreys and Northern Harriers holding steady; 135 migrating raptors total.

It was another moderate day of migration at the Florida Keys Hawkwatch, but no one is complaining. Looking over previous years’ numbers for October, two concepts can be surmised:

  • The unpredictable fluctuation of flight peaks for every species from year to year
  • The inevitability of having several 2-digit count days during October
Fortunately for us, today was not one of those 2-digit counts. We’ve simply been having “withdrawals” from several days of excellent flights last week, and are still pumped and ready for big flights. The eastern component to the winds has not benefited us as of late, and we are still waiting for “better” representations from a number of species, including the Accipiters and the Kestrels.
Winds speeds averaged between 5 and 8 km/h with gusts up to 18 out of the NNE. Cloud cover varied from 40 to 70% with no precipitation. Flight heights/lateral distances were not as extreme as recent days. Peregrines continue to be our bread and butter.

Today’s 135 migrating raptors consisted of:

Osprey – 18
Northern Harrier – 10
Sharp-shinned Hawk – 10
Cooper’s Hawk – 3
Broad-winged Hawk – 11
American Kestrel – 6
Merlin – 2
Peregrine Falcon – 74
Unidentifiable raptor – 1

Seasonal totals to date:

Osprey – 622
Mississippi Kite – 40
Swallow-tailed Kite – 18
Bald Eagle – 10
Northern Harrier – 176
Sharp-shinned Hawk – 415
Cooper’s Hawk – 227
Short-tailed Hawk – 3
Red-shouldered Hawk – 24
Broad-winged Hawk – 1358
Red-tailed Hawk – 1
Swainson’s Hawk – 1
American Kestrel – 337
Merlin – 297
Peregrine Falcon – 1450
Unknown Accipiter – 5
Unknown Buteo – 1
Unknown Falcon – 3
Unknown Raptor – 1

Total – 4991

Counters today were Jim Eager and Larry McDaniel.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Susan Sorensen permalink
    October 5, 2011 8:05 pm

    You’ll get them this weekend if not before; they’re all holed up in Lower Mat & Long Key; pick a tree, see a raptor….or two….three! All my feeders are staying full of seed which NEVER happens….nervous birds everywhere!

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