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The First Day of 2013 at Curry Hammock

September 17, 2013

Our first day of count at Curry Hammock was exciting, and our diversity was quite nice, considering it can be slow in early September at our Florida Keys site. A total of 88 individuals of 8 species of migratory birds of prey was nothing to complain about, yet it was the non-raptors that made the day.


The dominant raptor species was Osprey, with a total of 44 individuals nicely distributed throughout the day. Peregrine Falcons also started with a good show, at a total of 24 individuals moving through mostly before the afternoon. It was also nice to see 6 Cooper’s Hawks moving southward along the bayside; at one time two Merlins ganged up on a single Coop, taking swipes at it while in flight. Our total count for raptors on September 15 included:

Turkey Vulture – 2
Osprey – 44
Northern Harrier – 4
Cooper’s Hawk – 6
Merlin – 5
Peregrine Falcon – 24
Short-tailed Hawk – 1
Swallow-tailed Kite – 2

L1010137 nighthawk play image

Our count day was exciting because of the high number of nighthawks tallied – a total of 1025. Click on the link above for a short video taken at the hawkwatch of nighthawks moving southward towards the Straits, shot handheld with a LEICA V-LUX 4. Although these are likely Common Nighthawks (Chordeiles minor), there is always the possibility Antillean Nighthawks (Chordeiles gundlachii) could be in the midst – a species that breeds in the Florida Keys. Seeing how none of these birds – other than a single Common Nighthawk – was heard vocalizing, it is best to leave their identification as Chordeiles sp. or nighthawk species. Nonetheless, their movements were spectacular, gliding long stretches in evenly spaced formation, sometimes flapping steadily in a manner reminiscent of shorebirds, and other times kettling in a manner similar to kites. Below is our non-raptor totals for stationary counts from Curry Hammock:

Magnificent Frigatebird-29
Double-crested Cormorant-7
Brown Pelican-3
Great Egret-6
Snowy Egret-1
Little Blue Heron-2
Cattle Egret-32
Yellow-crowned Night-Heron-1
White Ibis-4
Glossy Ibis-14
Black-bellied Plover-11
Semipalmated Plover-3
Greater Yellowlegs-2
Lesser Yellowlegs-10
Least Sandpiper-30
Semipalmated Sandpiper-2
peep sp.-2
Short-billed Dowitcher-45
Short-billed/Long-billed Dowitcher-1
Laughing Gull-80
Royal Tern-4
Rock Pigeon-85
White-crowned Pigeon-1
Eurasian Collared-Dove-3
Mourning Dove-2
Common Ground-Dove-5
Common Nighthawk-1
nighthawk sp.-1025
Belted Kingfisher-7
Red-bellied Woodpecker-6
Gray Kingbird-7
Red-eyed Vireo-1
Purple Martin-37
Bank Swallow-25
Barn Swallow-1832
Cliff/Cave Swallow-2
swallow sp.-1668
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher-8
Northern Mockingbird-3
Worm-eating Warbler-1
American Redstart-1
Prairie Warbler-9
warbler sp.-2
Northern Cardinal-9
Red-winged Blackbird-16
Brown-headed Cowbird-3
Baltimore Oriole-2

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Susan Daughtrey permalink
    September 17, 2013 10:27 am

    Thanks for the write-up! I hope to be down there again this year.

  2. Mary Butterfield permalink
    September 17, 2013 8:02 pm

    Great day. Thanks for the report. Hope to see you soon.

    Mary B.

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