Saturday October 8, 2011
By Rafael A. Gálvez
Despite the wet weather with crazy variable winds and gusts over 20 km/h, our greatly anticipated Sunday was excellent. Several visitors and volunteers cancelled, but we still had a great turnout!
Against the odds, the banding station was ready and running, and birds were trapped, banded, demonstrated and safely released. Never mind the muddy puddles, wet shoes and chilly winds – success was attained thanks to the efforts of Jeff Bouton, Rudy Brancel and Mark Hedden.
Meanwhile at the hawkwatch, Jim Eager and I kept our eyes over low and completely overcast skies. In the end we had 83 birds total for Saturday, with Peregrines, Ospreys and Kestrels being the prominent species. Not bad for a day most would have thought lost to bad weather. Our enthusiastic and “brave” visitors included Gary Pappas – a representative of Carlton Fields, one of the FKH 2011 sponsors, Nancy Stevens, Debbie and Victor Riveron, Jason Daly, Jay Horvath, Brenda Daly and Jose Camacho. Several additional visitors and park goers stopped by for brief looks, or took part in the demonstrations.
Our visitors were eagerly listening for a crackling voice through the radio, for the moment the banding station might have captured a bird suitable for demonstration.
Above, photos of an FKH demo: Top left, Jeff Bouton instructs Gary Pappas on filling out the data forms while he secures a recently captured Peregrine Falcon. Botton left, Jeff bands the bird. On the right, measurement of the young Peregrine are taken; Rudy Brancel assists Jeff. Photos clockwise taken by: Rafael Galvez, Jason Daly, Nancy Stevens (bottom 2).
After banding and measuring, the Peregrine is readied for release. At top left, Jeff opens the bird’s wing to show the tell-tale “scaled” back of juvenile birds. Below, Nancy Steven releases the eager young Peregrine Falcon. Photos by Jason Daly.
Mark Hedden brings a recently banded adult Merlin to the count site for a demo. The kids from the camping grounds are enthralled. A young girl named Marlene volunteers to release the bird. All photos Rafael Galvez except the Merlin close-up by Jason Daly.