The 10,000 Milestone!
By Rafael A. Gálvez
Just short of the noon hour today, we tallied our 10,000 bird of the season – a Sharp-shinned Hawk! This was quite fitting considering it was the Sharpie’s day to shine – the species best day yet this season with 350 individuals. By the end of the day, we had tallied 859 birds for the day, adding up to 10,660 migrant raptors for the season.
Kestrels are also finally moving through in good numbers; Broad-wings hold steady in the 3-digits; Harriers continue pushing through; and although Peregrines have dipped from stellar numbers just a few days back, 66 is nothing to complain about.
With winds out of the NE holding at an average of 6 km/h, migratory raptors moved through quickly along every possible flight path due SW. The heavy overcast sky was challenging, considering it made for little reference points and that the birds were flying at high altitudes. However, this also filtered the sun and heat, making very distant identification of the smaller raptors possible without the hindrance of heat distortion.
Our total of 859 migratory raptors for today included:
Osprey – 12
Northern Harrier – 36
Sharp-shinned Hawk – 350
Cooper’s Hawk – 17
Short-tailed Hawk – 4
Broad-winged Hawk – 165
American Kestrel – 202
Merlin – 7
Peregrine Falcon – 66
Below are the FKH 2011 season-to-date totals as featured in the observation deck:
After several days of great company at FKH, it has been sad to say our goodbyes to several individuals who contributed much to our project. Jack and Bobbie Hamilton stopped by for a few last hours of hawkwatching before heading back home to central Florida. Jim and Raquel Sease also spent their last afternoon at FKH after having shared countless hours with us on deck over the season; their patience and kindness will surely be missed, but they will return next year. And the Cenkers – Dave, Jen and Gabe – came by to say bye also. Most memorable will be Gabe – although 10 yrs old, many have commented over the last week at how inspirational it has been to see him so involved in the project and so enthusiastic about raptor migration. We have been very fortunate to have him and his family take part, and we are certain they will remain attuned to birds and migration into the future. We hope they return soon.
But just as old friends leave, new friends are made quickly while hawkwatching – it was a pleasure to spend time with Colleen and Charles Caudill, who were very keen on spotting birds. We look forward to having them join us over the following days.