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Friday October 7, 2011

October 8, 2011

By Rafael A. Gálvez

All ready go to – got all bases covered – and then there’s the crazy weather!

Today was a real challenge.  With nearly 100% cloud cover all day, and variable wind speeds with gusts nearly 30 km/h from the NE, migration seemed at a standstill. During brief periods throughout the day we had drizzle, and a good rain during mid-day.

Our totals should speak for themselves; the 64 birds included:

Osprey – 12
Northern Harrier – 22
Sharp-shinned Hawk – 2
Cooper’s Hawk – 1
Broad-winged Hawk – 1
American Kestrel – 7
Merlin – 5
Peregrine Falcon – 14

Counters included Jim Eager and Rafael Galvez. Visitors were Patty Fado, Raquel and Jim Sease, and Kevan and Linda Sunderland.

The photo above is of a Peregrine Falcon, perched across the field from the banding station, on the so-called Melin sticks. It is often that one can see a Merlin, Kestrel or Peregrine perched on this long-dead Buttonwood. The birds will often harass each other over a preferred perched during the evenings. Today, falcons occupied the sticks throughout the day. Birds seemed unwilling to migrate or feed. It would appear that many were not necessarily hungry, but simply restless and displeased with weather conditions. It was a struggle at the banding station, where Jeff and Rudy kept vigilant throughout the day, with some close misses, but mainly frustrated with the lack of workable bird activity. The same could be said for those of us at the count site. Our total of 5 Merlins, for example, only shows part of the picture. We had several moments when there might have been 4 Merlins in the sky at once, but again, the birds did not seem interested in migrating with these winds, so they just lingered and flew back and forth throughout the key, driving us insane!

Peregrine Falcon photo taken by Jeff Bouton using a Leica D-Lux 30, digiscoped through an APO-Televid 65.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Susan Sorensen permalink
    October 9, 2011 6:57 am

    Hoping Sunday will be better for you all, although the thunder and lightening in Lower Mat at 6:00 a.m. would indicate the birds may just roll over and sleep in a bit longer.

  2. Patty Feito permalink
    October 9, 2011 12:22 pm

    Despite the “lower numbers,” I want to thank everyone at FKH for a wonderful time. Truly, just to see the peregrines in flight is a remarkable event for a avid hawk lover like me. If you all had driven north into Miami the next day, you would have understood EXACTLY why the birds were indecisive and wary. It was like driving into a Tropical Storm! As usual, they knew best.

    Thanks to Jim and Rafael for the great lessons in hawk-spotting!

    Patty Feito

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