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Rain Don’t Stop Kestrels!

October 15, 2011

By Rafael A. Gálvez

It was a completely rainy day at the Florida Keys Hawkwatch, with winds out of the NE and gusts up to 15 km/h. Contrasting the past few “hottest” days of the season, today was the chilliest and wettest, with the thermometer dropping to 25C (77F).

The species tallied today were precisely those we’d expect during stormy weather. However, Kestrels were by far the most common migrant – the rain did not seem to deter them much. Below are our totals:

Osprey – 4
Northern Harrier – 16
American Kestrel – 102
Merlin – 18
Peregrine Falcon – 26
Total – 166

Not surprisingly, Buteos and Accipiters were not observed. Other migrants included 5 Scissor-tailed Flycatchers and a Rose-breasted Grosbeak. Blue-winged Teal have also been on the move over the last few days, we saw over 100 today, yet yesterday we counted a strand of about 1,500 flying southeastward and offshore.

Angel Abreu of Badbirdz Reloaded sent me a text message in the morning telling me that the radar showed massive flights into Key West. According to some reports, Fort Zachary Taylor had a “fall out.” It would have been nice to have been there, but despite the temptations, we had a hawkwatch to run!

American Kestrel photos from the Florida Keys Hawkwatch Archives.

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