Monday, September 1, 2014

Raptor and non-raptor counts August summary

We have finished two weeks of counting already at Hawk Ridge, but due to a lot of rainy and foggy weather, migration appears to be a bit behind schedule. A total of 560 raptors were counted in August, which is below average, but this is largely due to the weather, since three full days and parts of four other days were lost due to rain and fog. This is already  more weather days than we typically have all season! The highlight among the raptors was a juvenile female Prairie Falcon seen over the main overlook on August 26th, which was called in to the main banding station and promptly trapped!

This stretch of west winds was also good for warblers, with counts of over 500 on the 26th and 1200 on the 27th, over half of which were Nashville Warblers on both days. These little leaf-colored warblers dominate the warbler flight every August, but 22 total species of warblers were seen in August, including several migrant Pine Warblers (rarely seen in migration compared to other species). Despite continued nightly vigilance, the nighthawk flight has been disappointing, with only about 6,000 total seen, including a peak of 3104 on August 24th. This compares to over 43,000 total nighthawks last year, including a peak of over 30,000 on August 21st. Every August there is a sharp peak of Cliff Swallows, and this year was no exception, with 2707 counted on August 26th, our largest flight of this species so far. Typically, August non-raptor flights are dominated by Red-winged Blackbirds and Cedar Waxwings, but very few of either of these species have been seen. My hope is that some very large waxwing flights will develop in early September.

Nashville Warbler about to take off from willow, showing how it blends into the vegetation

juvenile Peregrine Falcon chasing Osprey at Hawk Ridge. 

juvenile female Prairie Falcon trapped for banding at the Hawk Ridge main station on August 26th

No comments:

Post a Comment