HAPPY SPRING 2011!!!
Hope this letter finds all of you well. Spring is in the air, April is upon us, and in the following weeks spring migration will again focus our attention on the wonderful cycle of nature.
I am writing this recap at what amounts to the midway point** between the conclusion of the amazingly successful 2010 season and the start of our 24th year this coming September 2011.
Hopefully it reminds us of the wonderful time we had last season and begins the inklings of looking up to the skies in the future (including craning one’s neck and trying to keep up with flitting warblers in treetops!!).
I’ll let the numbers speak for themselves. Overall, the total number of raptors was an all-time record of 22,072!!!!! Simply amazing. There were season records for the following species; Turkey Vulture (886), Sharp-shinned Hawk (1403), Northern Harrier (132), Bald Eagle (109), and finally Broad-winged Hawk (18332). Daily records included; Turkey Vulture (530) and Northern Harrier (19). We tallied well above average counts of Osprey, Red-shouldered Hawk, American Kestrel, and Peregrine Falcon.
We had our first sightings and counts of Mississippi Kite (11SEP and 13SEP) – maybe they heard good things from last year’s Swallow-tailed Kite!!!! There were also individual sightings of Swainson’s Hawk (22OCT) and Rough-legged Hawk (25OCT) along with multiple Northern Goshawk (3)and Golden Eagle (4).There were 4 days where over 1000+ birds were tallied (including 21SEP at 10,187) and 18 days total with 100+ recorded (8 of which were in October – not too shabby!).
The obvious highlight (besides the snacks and picnic) would be 21SEP (and I will admit to being jealous while I am recounting the details since I was at work!!) was the massive flight of broadwings rising up from their roosts that morning to resume migration. 10,146 BW’s were tabulated that day, with the description of massive multiple kettles so numerous they were hard to count! Must have been quite a sight – and I do enjoy hearing the descriptions from that morning – must have made the heart rate rise dramatically! What’s also amazing is that these birds were seen in the first few hours of the morning count that day!
I was also glad to see more falcons, especially kestrels, especially with the ever shrinking suitable habitat – as one of the myriad of challenges they face. I will conclude by wishing all of you a happy spring and summer………..see you in September.
**midway point = horrible bout of procrastination