Saturday, April 24, 2004

April 23,2004
Spring Hawk Watch 2004
Tlacotalpan Veracruz

This was going to be my day off. I headed out to do some digiscoping/birding in the blazing sun, it was nice to get a bit of a break from the hawk watch. I was able to observe 73 species in about 3 hours.
Species of note: rufous-breasted spinetail, green-breasted mango hummingbird (male), barred antshrike, black-cowled oriole, bare-throated tigerheron.
While taking refuge in the shade of a tree, this Northern jacana, jacana spinosa caught my eye and I was able to capture some details. View 1 View2 View3 View4 View5

Once I got back to the house and had a bite of lunch, I walk out onto the porch and note that conditions seem right for raptor movement. So at 2p.m. I move the rocking chair and hawk watch gear out on the porch for a bit of viewing.
It is HOT 35C-95F. 10 km per hour wind from the south. Cloudless skies. At first glance, a few high flying resident black vultures. The sensation of waves of heat hitting my face, followed by the temptation to park the binoulars and take a nice long siesta.
To the southeast I notice a nice push of swallows, (barn swallows to be exact) in this part of the world during migration, swallows and lots of them moving steadily forward can be indicator of impending raptor movement. Within a matter of a minute, I see them, a rapidly moving, HIGH flying group of Mississippi kites (187 on the counter).
In an instant I am no longer tired, time flies and I enter the unique world of raptors in migration!
The rest of the afternoon is filled with some of the best views of the hawk watch thus far. 4.5 hours 3,299 raptors.
Mississippi kites (high kettle)
Broad-winged hawk
Swainson's hawk.
The highlight of the afternoon a fairly low flying female hook-billed kite!
Photo of Broad-winged hawk and Swainson's hawk soaring over Tlacotalpan
A slow moving line of primarily Mississippi kites.
Todays report:

TV Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura).....10

OS Osprey (Pandion haliaeetus).....3

MK Mississippi Kite (Ictinia mississippiensis)......2,650

HK Hook-billed Kite (Chondrohierax uncinatus).....1

NH Northern Harrier (Circus cyaneus).....2

SS Sharp-shinned Hawk (Accipiter striatus)....2

CH Cooper's Hawk (Accipiter cooperi).....9

BW Broad-winged Hawk (Buteo platypterus)......566

SW Swainson's Hawk (Buteo swainsoni)....42

AK American Kestrel (Falco sparverius).....5

ML Merlin (Falco columbarius).....1

PG Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus)......8
DAY TOTAL .......3,299

MONTH TOTAL......90,094

So long from Plaza Doña Marta, I'm the sunburned one, feelin good!
David McCauley

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