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Peregrine Record Surpassed

October 24, 2011

By Rafael A. Gálvez

By the end of today’s watch, 2,864 Peregrine Falcons made up our seasonal total for that species. The site’s all-time high of 2,858 birds (established 2003) has been surpassed. This is a new seasonal max for that species.

However, it was the Swainson’s Hawks that stole the show today. Below is one of several photos of the species taken this day at FKH.

Our totals for today included:

Osprey – 6
Northern Harrier – 18
Sharp-shinned Hawk – 66
Cooper’s Hawk – 24
Red-shouldered Hawk – 1
Swainson’s Hawk – 22
American Kestrel – 47
Merlin – 2
Peregrine Falcon – 11

It is a great time for diversity at the hawkwatch, and a great opportunity to observe mixed flocks.

One of the day’s highlights was a slow-moving kettle of 21 Swainson’s Hawks. The photo below is a handheld shot of a portion of this kettle. It is interesting to note that every now and then, we get visitors at the hawkwatch that simply cannot believe that this species happens in the Keys. They will stare at our banners and seem unconvinced that this is a fact. Today was a day when we wished such folks were around. This photo was taken using a Leica V-Lux 30 digital camera – an awesome little machine!

Counters today included Tedor Whitman and his wife Margaritte, Steve Tryon, Jim Eager and Rafael Galvez.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. Diane Reed permalink
    October 25, 2011 3:38 pm

    Fantastic news on the PEFAs !!! Congratulations. It was my pleasure sending them your way 🙂

    • October 25, 2011 6:04 pm

      Thanks Diane! It was great when you all had those 2 excellent PEFA days – 361/365 (=726) Oct 8/9 up at GTM, and then how we “seemed” to shadow those numbers a few days later (767 from Oct 11-14). It would be great to have more opportunities like that in the future, to get a better sense of movement correlations across the state. Has anyone taken a peek to see if any more birds continue moving through up there? Although our falcons have certainly toned down, we are still getting them through. We tallied 23 today (Oct 25). I know you all must have been thrilled up there, and I hope the interest and enthusiasm continues to grow so that next season, you’ll be all the more ready for big(ger) flights!

      • Diane Reed permalink
        October 25, 2011 7:19 pm

        I haven’t heard much from the counters regarding any falcons in large numbers, but it will be interesting to watch this weekend as another storm is brewing your way. I will post if I hear about anything. Thanks again. Sincerely, Diane

  2. Jeff Bouton permalink
    October 27, 2011 9:37 am

    Old records on HMANA suggest you average another 40 Peregrine or so through mid November too. Clearly the weather patterns were ideal to bring the PEFA to the watches to make for record counts. A phenomenal year!

  3. Jeff Bouton permalink
    October 27, 2011 9:44 am

    Rafael, I love that camera I can’ t believe you got that Swainson’s Hawk shot with a tiny, pocket-sized point & shoot camera. I’be had great success digiscoping with it recently as well. Those Merlin & PEFA shots on the FOG Facebook page as examples.

    • Jeff Bouton permalink
      October 29, 2011 7:58 am

      sorry stupid phone and auto correct – above should read “…FKH Facebook page…” not “FOG”

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