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Scattered Rain and Moderate Flights

October 3, 2011

By Rafael A. Gálvez

Today’s count kicked off with some rain before mid-morning, and some more by noon. The wind varied drastically from 3 to 10 km/h, with gusts near 20, out of the northeast.

The flights were somewhat moderate yet steady and sporadic. It seemed that early in the day all the falcons were having a difficult time deciding which direction to fly towards. We had to constantly be following Merlins circle the perimeter of the park or watch Kestrels fly out towards the water and return back to shore.

Harriers had their best flight of the season to date; we are still waiting for increased numbers into the following weeks.

Ospreys remain low, but steady in the low double digits – we can only hope that they will keep coming and make up for a healthy season. They tend to peak rather early, but looking over the 12 years of full seasons at Curry Hammock, it is unpredictable.

Our total fo 256 birds consisted of:

Osprey – 18
Northern Harrier – 34
Sharp-shinned Hawk – 21
Cooper’s Hawk – 13
Broad-winged Hawk – 3
American Kestrel – 43
Merlin – 33
Peregrine Falcon – 89
Unidentified falcon – 2

Today’s counters included Tedor Whitman, Larry McDaniel, Jim Eager, Jenny Welch, Paul Cooper and Rafael Galvez.

With rain over the Marathon area into the early morning, it seemed a good opportunity for passerine migrants. Larry and I headed out a bit early to check the hammock on the bay side of Curry Hammock. We were soon joined by Paul Cooper. There were certainly some birds around, and had we the time we might have certainly rendered some surprises. We saw/heard the following species:
Northern Parula
Prairie Warbler
Black-throated Blue Warbler
American Redstart
Yellow-throated Warbler
Black-and-white Warbler
Common Yellowthroat
Ovenbird
Northern Waterthrush
Palm Warbler
Red-eyed Vireo
White-eyed Vireo
Indigo Bunting
Swainson’s Thrush
Gray-cheeked Thrush
Gray Catbird – first of the season at Curry Hammock

A highlight was a Whimbrel spotted by Tedor flying along the shoreline, observed from the FKH deck.

Above is a beautiful photo of an Osprey, taken by Kevan Sunderland.

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