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2012 Season Begins – Off to a Great Start!

September 15, 2012

By Rafael A. Gálvez

Today was the first day of count for the 13th season of raptor monitoring from Curry Hammock State Park, and we had an excellent day! This was the highest first day count at the Florida Keys Hawkwatch for all seasons to date.

With a total of 234 individuals of 10 raptor species, we could not have asked for a better start to this much-anticipated season. Above, 8 Mississippi Kites were observed moving through at 12:14pm. Photo by Ted Keyel.

The following are our southbound totals for today’s raptors:

Turkey Vulture – 5
Osprey – 122
Swallow-tailed Kite – 12
Mississippi Kite – 8
Northern Harrier – 20
Cooper’s Hawk – 7
Red-shouldered Hawk – 1
Short-tailed Hawk – 2
Merlin – 36
Peregrine Falcon – 21
Total – 234

This season, we will also be documenting  “non-raptor” species from the count site at Curry Hammock State Park. A total of  66 species were observed today.  It was a good swallow passage day, with a total of 1760 tallied for all swallow species, many of which were individuals too distant to identify from our site. Several other species were also observed from the count deck.

Non-raptor Count
White Ibis – 57
Least Sandpiper – 4
Lesser Yellowlegs – 3
White-crowned Pigeon – 30
Northern Rough-winged Swallow – 3
Bank Swallow – 7
Cliff Swallow – 1
Barn Swallow – 1086
Swallow sp.  – 663
Eastern Kingbird – 1
Gray Kingbird – 1
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher – 1
Cape May Warbler – 2
Prairie Warbler – 4
Black-throated Blue Warbler – 1
Orchard Oriole – 1
Red-winged Blackbird – 2

Morning Survey
Herring Gull – 1
White-crowned Pigeon – 38
Chuck-will’s Widow – 4
Belted Kingfisher – 2
Red-bellied Woodpecker – 4
Eastern Kingbird – 5
Red-eyed Vireo – 1
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher – 3
Tennessee Warbler – 1
Northern Parula – 10
Black-thoated Blue Warbler – 1
Prairie Warbler – 2
American Redstart – 2
Black-and-White Warbler – 2
Worm-eating Warbler – 1
Ovenbird – 10
Northern Waterthrush – 6
Louisiana Waterthrush – 2
Common Yellowthroat – 2
Northern Cardinal – 5
Bobolink – 200
Common Grackle – 1

Other birds seen and/or heard:
Magnificent Frigatebird
Double-crested Cormorant
Brown Pelican
Great White Heron
Great Egret
Snowy Egret
Little Blue Heron
Tricolored Heron
Reddish Egret
Cattle Egret
Bald Eagle
Black-bellied Plover
Semipalmated Plover
Ruddy Turnstone
Sanderling
Short-billed Dowitcher
Laughing Gull
Ring-billed Gull
Royal Tern
Eurasian Collared-Dove
Mourning Dove
Eastern Wood-Pewee
Northern Mockingbird

The counters today included Jim Eager, Rafael Galvez and a new member of our team, Ted Keyel from Madison Wisconsin. We welcome Ted to the Florida Keys and are convinced he will be a great asset to the project.  Several visitors stopped by the hawkwatch today including Trish Mikkelson, Kimberly, Michael and Tony Hynes, Larry Rosen and Roslyn Scheer, and a great group form the South Florida Association of Environmental Proffesionals, including Chip and Olivia Day, Kenny Jurawan, David Bogordis and John Adornato.

Additional species recently seen from the Middle Keys:
Green Heron – Long Key 09/15/12
Sandwich Tern – Long Key 09/14/12
Common Ground-Dove – Long Key 09/13/12
Ruby-throated Hummingbird – Founder’s Park 09/13/12
Northern Flicker – Windley Key 09/13/12
Traill’s Flycatcher – Founder’s Park 09/13/12
White-eyed Vireo – Long Key 09/14/12
Nashville Warbler – Founder’s Park 09/13/12
Magnolia Warbler – Founder’s Park 09/13/12
Yellow-throated Warbler – Windley Key 09/13/12
Prothonotary Warbler – Founder’s Park 09/13/12
Kentucky Warbler – Curry Hammock 09/14/12
Yellow-breasted Chat – Long Key 09/13/12
Baltimore Oriole – Windley Key 09/13/12

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. NatureIsAwesome permalink
    September 15, 2012 9:32 pm

    Awesome beginning to the season guys! Great detailed report of both raptor species and migratory species as well as resident bird life. We really enjoyed the FKH’s first post and are looking forward to the rest of the season! We will see you in October 🙂

  2. Sue Hartman permalink
    September 15, 2012 10:33 pm

    I love the idea of surveying the other birds along with the hawks. Looking forward to our time with the hawk watch in October. Sue Hartman

  3. Mary Butterfield permalink
    September 15, 2012 11:40 pm

    Wow! What a day. Hope we are so fortunate. See you Monday, 10/1.

    Mary

  4. September 16, 2012 5:04 pm

    Great starts gang!!!

  5. September 17, 2012 9:23 am

    Nice bird count from Curry Hammock State Park!

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