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Riding Higher Winds

September 28, 2012


By Rafael Galvez

A long band of cumulus clouds was strung over the Middle Keys today. Most raptors flew through this corridor, often appearing and disappearing as they exited and entered the clouds at high altitudes.


The cumulus cloud band is marked above in light blue. It sat roughly over the 500m line from the count site, and followed the Keys chain towards the SW. Surface winds were out of the ENE with much variability and at times falling flat. High altitude winds also appeared extremely variable, evident in the broad ranging cirrus and altocumulus formations above. Roughly 90% of our migrants were within this band.

Today was the third triple-digit day in a row for Peregrine Falcons. We saw 125 on Sept-25, 126 on Sept-26, and 141 today. During the last hour of count (16:00-17:00), 46 Peregrines were tallied, well within the K5 to A5 flight path range.

Today we surpassed the site’s daily count high for Mississippi Kite, with 28. We also surpassed the site’s seasonal max for the species, bringing us to a total of 74!

Raptor totals for September 27, 2012:

Turkey Vulture – 11
Osprey – 73
Bald Eagle – 1
Mississippi Kite – 28
Northern Harrier – 18
Sharp-shinned Hawk – 15
Cooper’s Hawk – 21
Broad-winged Hawk – 191
Short-tailed Hawk – 1
American Kestrel – 23
Merlin – 24
Peregrine Falcon – 141
Unknown raptor – 2
Total – 549

2012 Season Total – 3126

Observation start time: 09:00:00
Observation end  time: 17:00:00
Total observation time: 8 hours

Official Counters:  Ted Keyel, Rafael Galvez

Rick Holway
Cindy Bush
Lisa-Marie Lerner
Glen Lindeman

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Mary Butterfield permalink
    September 28, 2012 8:13 am

    Thanks for the update. Glad you continue to set records. Congrats.


  2. Jeff Bouton permalink
    September 28, 2012 3:18 pm

    Awesome gang, always fun to read the interesting daily happenings.

  3. Jeff Bouton permalink
    September 28, 2012 3:34 pm

    Oh yeah, and while you “never count your money while your sittin’ at the table…” You guys not only have a new daily and seasonal high for MIKI, but you are a full 324 Peregrine’s ahead of last year’s record shattering pace on the same date…. New World Record in 2012?!?… 🙂

  4. Michelle Davis permalink
    September 29, 2012 5:08 pm

    OK, they’re not hawks, but we banded our 23rd Swainson’s warbler today at Cape Florida, which ties our previous high set last year.

    • September 29, 2012 6:13 pm

      AWESOME!!! We saw our first Swainson’s Warbler of the Middle Keys on September 25 on the Fat Deer Trail, although I am sure we have just been missing them – though it must be noted that we have been looking.
      We start songbird counts tomorrow (Sunday) morning at Long Key. We are excited about that!

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