Wednesday, September 22, 2010

From the kettle to the kettles.. my first (of the season) Broad-winged hawk sighting in Veracruz

The date: September 20th
Location: Tamalinillo, Veracruz Mexico
Hurricane Karl left us with a lot of moisture here in Veracruz.

The rains ceased on the 20th, the heat and humidity was crazy. The small rural community of Tamalinillo Veracruz was preparing for the festival of Saint Matthew. Early in the morning on the 20th a hog was butchered, by the time I got up the fire was going strong with a big kettle of boiling lard.
 The pork fat and rinds were cooked up first and later, meat was added until all was cooked.

You take this fried pork (while its still hot) and chop it up a bit with a knife put a couple of chunks on a fresh corn tortilla add some home made salsa,  and you have some fine dining. Wash down five or six of these tacos with some cold Tecates and life is indeed good!
I had just finished eating, it was about 2pm and I spot some movement in the sky to the other side of the valley....a "kettle" of Broad-winged hawks - Buteo platypterus. These are my first BW's of this season here in Veracruz. I feel the rush of adrenaline as a race to get the camera. Below is a view of the hawks in a thermal or "kettle". A "kettle" is a column of rising warm air, when the raptors enter the column of rising warm air they soar in spirals to gain altitude to continue their migration. This soaring spiral of hawks, in great numbers, gives the effect of water boiling in a kettle. 

Here is another view as the Broad-winged hawks as they leave the "kettle". The wing shape changes to glide and the appearance is one of uniformity, another name for this gliding flight pattern is called a "stream" or a "line".

I counted approximately 1,800 Broad-winged hawks in about an hour.

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