Friday, August 20, 2010

Somebody's watching me......visit from a praying mantis and a hook-billed kite.

 Yesterday, I climbed a ridge in Piedra Labrada, Veracruz, with a panoramic view northward to see if I could spot some of the first migrating raptors. After scanning the sky for several hours I caught a movement out of the corner of my eye. I had a praying mantis perched on my spotting telescope and it was watching me looking for hawks! (or so it seemed :-) ) It reminded me of a blast from the past, a Rockwell song "Somebody's Watching Me. Below is a youtube video thats spoofs the song and I couldn't help bus chuckle when I saw it.

 I got these pics of the praying mantis with my Canon EOS 40D and 60mm ESF 2.8 (macro)
So back to my raptor observations, after scanning for about 5 hours I had seen roaming resident BV's black vultures as well as a handful of resident TV's turkey vultures. In addition to this I could observe that there was a significant dragonfly and butterfly migration underway, with thousands skimming by each hour.
Around 4pm, I got that glimpse that every hawk-watcher and birder wants..... headed my way I could see a distinct raptor profile with some ragged plumage. I had a Hook-billed Kite Chonroheirax unicinatus!! I scrambled for the camera, Canon Rebel T1i with Canon 400mm 5.6 lens and was able to get off about 22 shots as it passed by.
This shot in flight is a male hook-billed kite (gray and white barring on the belly) Hook-billed kites lack a surpra-orbital ridge which gives the head the look of a "monster pigeon on steroids" while in flight.
What a thrill to observe and photograph this bird! I will be continuing to post my raptor migration observations from Veracruz Mexico.
Good birding All and Eyes to the Sky.

David McCauley
twitter:     @ mexicohawk

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Starting August 15 2010 - I will be observing migration here in Veracruz

Birders and Hawkwatchers everywhere, welcome to my blog Veracruz Hawk Watch.
Tomorrow I will begin to search the skies for early signs of migration of raptor, birds, butterfly and dragonflies. This is indeed one of the most exciting times of the year for me. There is something magical about the visuals of the migration. Imagine swirling clouds and V-shaped lines of  thousands American White pelicans, Anhinga or Wood storks.   CLICK ON ANY PHOTO TO MAKE IT LARGER

In addition  to these migrants it is possible to observe significant  numbers of scissor-tailed flycatchers and white-winged doves as they migrate south.

The migrations of millions of butterflies and dragonflies is also quite awesome!

My favorite migration visual are the birds of prey. The raptor migrations are the show stoppers of the Veracruz migrations.  Swirling "kettles" (thermals) and "lines" of Turkey Vultures, Swainson's Hawks, Broad-winged Hawks, Mississippi kites.  Millions of these species are counted each fall as the migrate south to Central and South America.

Also it is possible to see Swallow-tailed kites, Hooked-billed Kites, Peregrine falcons, Merlins, Sharp-shinned hawks, Coopers hawks, Osprey, Red-tailed hawks, Red-shouldered hawks, Aplomado Falcons, Great Black Hawk, American Kestrels, Crested Caracara, Bat falcon, Short-tailed hawks...... the list goes on.
We still have space for the tours to witness these migrations, the information is posted below:
Good birding all! See you in Veracruz. CLICK ON THE GIF BELOW
David McCauley

For the fall 2010 Veracruz  Hawkwatch Tours I will once again be teaming up with Simon Thompson of Ventures Birding Tours- "Putting the fun back into birding!" We have a fine team of guides this year, Simon Thompson, Frank Gallo, Bill Thompson (Birdwatchers Digest) and David McCauley.
We have selected 4 dates for the Veracruz hawkwatch tours:
Tour #1.   September 25th -October 2nd
Tour #2    October 2nd-9th
Tour #3.   October 9th-16th
Tour #4.   October16th-23rd
**each tour is 7 days and begins and ends on a Saturday.
For the tour specifics please visit The Ventures Birding Tours website
or you can contact me David McCauley

Friday, August 13, 2010