April 17, 2004
Spring Hawk Watch 2004
HELLO! Is anyone reading this weblog or am I just mumbling to myself?
There is a space for comments on the far left side at the end of each post. I would appreciate hearing from you!
Blue skies are a raptor observers challenge(cloudless skies can kick your butt). Spend 9 hours scanning the blue for raptors and you will see what I mean!
Today was a fairly good day at the hawk watch number wise with 3,991migrating raptors tallied.
Late in the afternoon a cloud of rock doves flies over the plaza, their flight is not the normal flowing pattern of the rock pigeon. These guys are agitated.
I start looking for the source and spot a low flying accipiter, grab the digital camera (which I hand hold to the eyepiece of my binocular) and start taking some pics. This is not the easiest thing to do, but I am getting better at it. I was able to get about nine or ten pics of the juvenile accipiter. At first glance the pictures are not very sharp but they are useful for those who want to learn flight ID's for raptors.When you are observing raptors in flight most of the time all that you are dealing with is "shape" and these "shapes can change dramatically depending on what they are doing be it gliding, soaring or stooping.
In a time span of 40 seconds you can see the difference in the views of the same accipiter. This PHOTO COLLAGE represents the classic field challenge of IS IT A COOPER'S OR A SHARP-SHINNED HAWK?
Weigh in with your pick in the comment box, I will tell you later what I think it is.
Report for the 17th of April
TV Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura) 6
OS Osprey (Pandion haliaeetus) 14
ST Swallow-tailed Kite (Elanoides forficatus) 0
MK Mississippi Kite (Ictinia mississippiensis) 1,794
HK Hook-billed Kite (Chondrohierax uncinatus) 0
NH Northern Harrier (Circus cyaneus) 1
SS Sharp-shinned Hawk (Accipiter striatus) 2
CH Cooper's Hawk (Accipiter cooperi) 2
RS Red-shouldered Hawk (Buteo lineatus) 0
BW Broad-winged Hawk (Buteo platypterus) 2,157
SW Swainson's Hawk (Buteo swainsoni) 7
ZT Zone-tailed Hawk (Buteo albonotus) 0
RT Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) 0
RH Roadside Hawk (Buteo magnirostris) 0
AK American Kestrel (Falco sparverius) 4
ML Merlin (Falco columbarius) 1
PG Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus) 3
CC Crested Caracara (Caracara plancus) 0
GE Golden Eagle (Aquila chrysaetos) 0
DAY TOTAL ............3,991