Visitors, Counters and Birds
The Festival came to Curry Hammock State Park today. The day-use area on the north side of the park was occupied by booths and stands from several organizations and vendors, and the hawkwatch was filled with visitors and hawkwatchers throughout the day. Above left, FKH counters focused on tracking movement at high altitudes. Although not in the 3-digit day-counts we hope to get soon, today’s 48 Ospreys were our best for the season yet. From left to right, Mariel Abreu, Angel Abreu, Samantha Sardes, Christine Vaskovic, and Jim Eager managed to tally 11 Ospreys from 11 to noon, mostly high overhead. Above right, Rudy Brancel focused on sharing Marlena the Merlin with visitors. Adults and children enjoyed the very cooperative rehabilitated female falcon, and browsed through FKH interpretive displays.
Our total of 167 birds included:
Osprey – 48
Mississippi Kite – 4
Swallow-tailed Kite – 4
Northern Harrier – 9
Sharp-shinned Hawk – 1
Cooper’s Hawk – 4
Broad-winged Hawk – 8
Merlin – 14
Peregrine Falcon – 75
The birds were certainly great today, with plenty of excellent looks at falcons, kites and harriers. As the winds shifted from drastic easterlies earlier in the week to mild winds out of the S, the flights were mostly overhead throughout the day. Highlights included the excellent company of watchers and visitors that graced the site, and the bounty of conversations about birds that were shared.
Above right, Kenn and Kim Kaufman visited the hawkwatch during the last hours, just as the falcon flights began picking up again. It was a great pleasure to have them at the site. We hope they are having a great time at the Keys and that they will visit the hawkwatch again soon.
Into the afternoon, several observers kept eyes on migration while visitors continued moving through. In the above photo, in the center with the black cap and shirt is Mark Hedden, long-time contributor to the Florida Keys Hawkwatch. Soon we were also graced by Jeff Bouton and David Simpson. During the last 3 hours, 38 Peregrines were tallied. The flights of swallows were excellent into the evening with thousands swarming throughout in mixed flocks that included Purple Martin, Barn, Cliff, Cave, N. Rough-winged, and Bank Swallows.
We look forward to more days like this, surrounded by new and old friends, and no lack of migrating birds.