By Rafael A. Gálvez
A combined total of 1,290 birds were tallied October 21 and 22, with 715 on Friday and 575 on Saturday.
Cooper’s Hawks had a great day today, Saturday, with the 3rd daily max for that species in 12 years, at a total of 124 birds. It was also a very nice day for diversity, with 13 raptor species seen – 11 migratory. We also had the daily max for Red-shouldered Hawks, with an impressive 15 birds seen migrating in high kettles with other species.
Friday was a good numbers day, with good flights of Sharpies, Kestrels and Northern Harriers.
A total of 575 for 10/22/11 included:
Osprey – 8
Northern Harrier – 34
Sharp-shinned hawk – 116
Cooper’s hawk – 124
Short-tailed Hawk – 5
Broad-winged hawk – 240
Red-shouldered Hawk – 15
Swainson’s Hawk – 4
American Kestrel – 17
Merlin – 2
Peregrine Falcon – 10
Non-migratory raptors included Bald Eagle and Turkey Vulture.
A total of 715 for 10/21/11 included:
Osprey – 5
Northern Harrier – 77
Sharp-shinned hawk – 321
Cooper’s hawk – 29
Broad-winged hawk – 127
Swainson’s Hawk – 3
American Kestrel – 140
Merlin – 3
Peregrine Falcon – 7
Unidentified raptor – 2
Counters today were Sue and Darrell Hartman, Colleen and Charles Caudill, Jim Eager and Rafael Galvez.
We had many visitors who came to join us today for a great diversity of birds. Representing one of our sponsors – Space Coast Audubon Society – Secretary Rosemary Webb and her sister Georgann Savage joined us the first part of the day. We also were visited by the falconer couple, Tom and Caryn Cantella – great spotters. Kevin Leigh passed by early in the morning, and Teresa Ebeling and Mitch Pazara joined us mid-day during a period of excitement.
It was great to have a visiting group of senior conservation scientists led by Dr. Stuart Pimm – Doris Duke Professor of Conservation Ecology at Nicholas School of the Environment, Duke University – and also a local Keys resident. The group included Johny Wilson, John Ogden, John Avise, Rebecca Goldburg, Marilyn Heiman, R.T. Paine, Les Watling, Les Kaufman and Sally Murphy. It might have not been the biggest flight numbers-wise, but the diversity was certainly there. The group managed to observe all 3 falcons, 4 Buteos including our specialties, Short-tailed and Swainson’s Hawks, and plenty of Accipiters – everyone seemed pleased.
Today was the last day of counting for Darrell and Sue Hartman (above), our volunteers from Gainesville. It was great to have them as part of the project; we certainly shared some fantastic raptor flights with them, very many songbirds, good weather and food, and excellent thoughtful and inspiring conversation. They will be missed; we wish them a safe trip back and hope they return soon.
Top most photo composite of very distant perched American Kestrel (adult male) and a Swainson’s Hawk. Shot handheld using a Leica V-Lux 30 digital camera.