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Push after the Storm

September 18, 2011

A thunderstorm kicked off the morning at the Florida Keys Hawkwatch, with rain until 11am and nearly 100%  low cloud-cover until 1pm. By noon, only 6 raptors had been tallied moving southbound. Soon after the storm, birds started moving down; we counted 22 birds from 12 to 1, half of which were Ospreys. That hour also brought us the first Northern Harrier of the season! A first-year bird that looked much like the photo posted by Jeff Bouton on Facebook on 9-11-11.

All in all, we had our most productive day as of yet, but we had to work hard for it. Peregrines and Merlins are certainly on the up. Nearly all the birds continued along an inland trajectory at high altitudes. Our total of 60 raptors – once again 9 species – was composed of the following:

Osprey – 23
Swallow-tailed Kite – 1
Northern Harrier – 1
Bald Eagle – 1
Sharp-shinned Hawk – 3
Cooper’s Hawk – 5
Broad-winged Hawk – 4
Merlin – 6
Peregrine – 16
Total – 60

Passerines: Prior to the morning’s thunderstorm, Indigo Buntings could be heard around, and many Bobolinks were on the move. A Baltimore Oriole perched nearby and Eastern Kingbirds continued pushing southward.
After the storm, we had a mini-fallout of Northern Waterthrushes and Ovenbirds. These were everywhere. Other warblers included Black-throated Blue, American Redstart, Northern Parula, Black-and-white and numerous Prairies.

Counters today were Jim Eager, Dan Click, and Rafael Galvez. We had the excellent company of Fabrizio Santoro of Miami throughout the afternoon, who took great interest in helping us spot distant birds, and proved to be a sharp observer. We welcome him to the clan of hawkwatchers!

As I write, a brief squall dissipated to clear skies and birds can be heard migrating (10pm). A half hour listen turned up Prairies, Parulas, Cape Mays, Swainson’s Warblers and other calls.

Winds today were variable, at an average of 5km/h; during midday, persisting out of the northwest. Predictions for the following days suggest winds up to 24km/h (15mph) out of the east – ouch! Birds will be pushed far towards the bay, and might prove to be a challenge.

Below, Fabrizio Santoro and Dan Click keep sharp eyes on the distant moving Peregrine Falcons migrating along the bay side. Six were monitored during the day’s final hour. Photo taken using a Leica V-Lux 30.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. September 19, 2011 10:48 am

    How do we order or FKHW gear? I want a shirt- pronto! (organic cotton, please 😉 )

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