Hawkwatch – 30 October 2014


Cape May
Cape May Point, New Jersey, USA
Daily Raptor Counts: Oct 30, 2014
-------------------------------------------------------------------

Species            Day's Count    Month Total   Season Total
------------------ ----------- -------------- --------------
Black Vulture                9             97            103
Turkey Vulture             168            886           1003
Osprey                      12           1613           3782
Bald Eagle                  11            280            581
Northern Harrier            64            668            844
Sharp-shinned Hawk        1183           9608          12856
Cooper's Hawk              255           2483           3337
Northern Goshawk             0              2              2
Red-shouldered Hawk         68            112            119
Broad-winged Hawk           19            513            721
Red-tailed Hawk            138            315            425
Rough-legged Hawk            1              1              1
Golden Eagle                 0              6              6
American Kestrel            40           2156           4394
Merlin                      18            844           1357
Peregrine Falcon            17            647            960
Unknown Accipiter            0              1              4
Unknown Buteo                0              0              0
Unknown Falcon               0              0              1
Unknown Eagle                0              0              0
Unknown Raptor               0              0              1
Zone-tailed Hawk             0              0              1

Total:                    2003          20232          30498
----------------------------------------------------------------------

Observation start time: 06:00:00 
Observation end   time: 16:00:00 
Total observation time: 10 hours

Official Counter:        Tom Reed

Observers:        

Weather:
Seasonable. Patchy fog during early-AM, becoming partly cloudy through the
rest of the AM and mostly clear for the PM. Winds NW/NNW 5-10mph. 

Raptor Observations:
A strong flight of accipiters throughout, particularly during the AM. Nice
movement of buteos throughout second half of AM and early PM. SY
Rough-legged Hawk passed over platform at 1333(EST) and continued s. across
water (thanks SB). 

Non-raptor Observations:
Eurasian Wigeon (4), Redhead (1), Stilt Sandpiper (3), White-rumped
Sandpiper (1), Parasitic Jaeger (5), White-winged Dove (1), Cave Swallow
(2), Barn Swallow (1), American Robin (12,000), Yellow-rumped Warbler
(3,000)

Predictions:
Mostly sunny, 58ºF, winds NE 10mph. 

Seawatch - 29 October 2014

Observation time: 0615 - 1802
Observer: Skye Haas

Species counted:
Brant - 66
Gadwall - 8
American Wigeon - 12
American Black Duck - 13
Blue-winged Teal - 1
Northern Shoveler - 1
Northern Pintail - 5
Green-winged Teal - 47
Redhead - 5
Ruddy Duck - 5
Greater Scaup - 10
Lesser Scaup - 24
Surf Scoter - 7,214
White-winged Scoter - 6
Black Scoter - 2,608
Dark-winged Scoter - 1,662
Bufflehead - 4
Red-breasted Merganser - 1
Red-throated Loon - 60
Common Loon - 102
Horned Grebe - 14
Northern Gannet - 4,190
Brown Pelican - 76
Double-crested Cormorant - 2,016
Great Cormorant - 1
Great Blue Heron - 13
Laughing Gull - 154
Bonaparte's Gull - 14
Ring-billed Gull - 37
Great Black-backed Gull - 31
Thayer's Gull/Iceland Gull - 1
Caspian Tern - 7
Forster's Tern - 178
Royal Tern - 113
Parasitic Jaeger - 8
American Oystercatcher - 23
Black-bellied Plover - 190
Semipalmated Plover - 4
Red Knot - 60
Ruddy Turnstone - 2
Sanderling - 800
Dunlin - 400
Western Sandpiper - 1
Semipalmated Sandpiper - 2
Purple Sandpiper - 1
Dowitcher sp. - 3

Total: 20,193


A note from Skye:
Another good Northern Gannet flight today! Just under 4200 Gannets went winging by the Seawatch, though there presence has been sparking some conversation among the long-time Avalon sea-watchers. Why so many young birds? Why so early when the water is still so warm? Is there a dearth of prey items further north sending these birds south early? And will my Gannet clicker take another day like today? I hope so, because while rare, 10,000 Gannet days have been had at Avalon before; I can only imagine what that looks like, and just maybe I'll get to find out!

Scoters started to pick up some today, but we still have a ways to go. Right now the question of what will be the "big day" is looming- Tom sez'Saturday so bring your galoshes as it is predicted to be a wet one. Another 100+ Common Loon day was good to see, and we set the season high count for Brown Pelican with 76 birds. And in the category of "if only it had made a closer pass" was an adult Thayer's/Iceland Gull that was particularly dark pigmented in the primaries. Oh well, all I can say is it was a pretty white-winged gull framed against the steely blue clouds of the cold front hitting the Atlantic. 

Northern Gannet. [Photo by Mike Kilpatrick.]

Brown Pelican. [Photo by Mike Kilpatrick.]

Hawkwatch - 29 October 2014


Cape May
Cape May Point, New Jersey, USA
Daily Raptor Counts: Oct 29, 2014
-------------------------------------------------------------------

Species            Day's Count    Month Total   Season Total
------------------ ----------- -------------- --------------
Black Vulture                0             88             94
Turkey Vulture              69            718            835
Osprey                      21           1601           3770
Bald Eagle                   3            269            570
Northern Harrier            23            604            780
Sharp-shinned Hawk         751           8425          11673
Cooper's Hawk               44           2228           3082
Northern Goshawk             0              2              2
Red-shouldered Hawk          2             44             51
Broad-winged Hawk            0            494            702
Red-tailed Hawk              7            177            287
Rough-legged Hawk            0              0              0
Golden Eagle                 0              6              6
American Kestrel            94           2116           4354
Merlin                      26            826           1339
Peregrine Falcon            12            630            943
Unknown Accipiter            0              1              4
Unknown Buteo                0              0              0
Unknown Falcon               0              0              1
Unknown Eagle                0              0              0
Unknown Raptor               0              0              1
Zone-tailed Hawk             0              0              1

Total:                    1052          18229          28495
----------------------------------------------------------------------

Observation start time: 06:15:00 
Observation end   time: 16:30:00 
Total observation time: 10.25 hours

Official Counter:        Tom Reed

Observers:        

Weather:
Mild and humid during the AM, winds SSW->SW 5-10mph. Cooler and cloudier
during the PM, winds W->NW 10-15mph. 

Raptor Observations:
Steady movement of SSHA and AMKE after winds shifted to NW during mid-PM. 

Non-raptor Observations:
Eurasian Wigeon (4), Northern Gannet (1200), Stilt Sandpiper (3),
White-rumped Sandpiper (1), Parasitic Jaeger (~20), Eurasian Collared-Dove
(1), Black-capped Chickadee (1)

Predictions:
Sunny, 58ºF, winds NNW 5-10mph. 
========================================================================
Cape May information may be found at:
http://www.njaudubon.org/Centers/CMBO/

Hawkwatch - 28 October 2014


Cape May
Cape May Point, New Jersey, USA
Daily Raptor Counts: Oct 28, 2014
-------------------------------------------------------------------

Species            Day's Count    Month Total   Season Total
------------------ ----------- -------------- --------------
Black Vulture                0             88             94
Turkey Vulture               0            649            766
Osprey                       6           1580           3749
Bald Eagle                   5            266            567
Northern Harrier             7            581            757
Sharp-shinned Hawk          92           7674          10922
Cooper's Hawk               34           2184           3038
Northern Goshawk             0              2              2
Red-shouldered Hawk          1             42             49
Broad-winged Hawk            2            494            702
Red-tailed Hawk              9            170            280
Rough-legged Hawk            0              0              0
Golden Eagle                 0              6              6
American Kestrel             6           2022           4260
Merlin                       5            800           1313
Peregrine Falcon             2            618            931
Unknown Accipiter            0              1              4
Unknown Buteo                0              0              0
Unknown Falcon               0              0              1
Unknown Eagle                0              0              0
Unknown Raptor               0              0              1
Zone-tailed Hawk             0              0              1

Total:                     169          17177          27443
----------------------------------------------------------------------

Observation start time: 06:00:00 
Observation end   time: 16:00:00 
Total observation time: 10 hours

Official Counter:        Mary Raikes

Observers:        

Weather:
Partly cloudy skies today with winds light, less than 10mph, from the S and
SE.  Warm with temperatures reaching 73F.

Raptor Observations:
Quiet day as expected with the southerly winds.  Most birds with to the
distant north of the viewing platform.  Mainly accipiters and only a few
distant low kettles forming.

Non-raptor Observations:
A strong American Robin flight as well as Red-winged Blackbird, Starling,
Cedar Waxwing, and Blue Jays.  Other morning flight birds include American
Pipit(1), Pine Siskin(3), White-breasted Nuthatch(1), Red-breasted
Nuthatch(2), Purple finch, American Goldfinch, and Yellow-rumped Warbler. 
Pond waterfowl included: Gadwall(148), Northern Pintail(53), American
Widgeon(201), Eurasian Widgeon(4), Ring-necked Duck(4), American Coot(22),
Mallard(7), Northern Shoveler(21), Ruddy Duck(19), Pied-billed Grebe(6),
Green-winged Teal(21), and Blue-winged Teal(3) per Skye Haas.  AMERICAN
BITTERN(2) on pond. 

Predictions:
Chance of precip in the afternoon with temperatures in the mid 60's and
winds 10-15mph from the SW.
========================================================================
Cape May information may be found at:
http://www.njaudubon.org/Centers/CMBO/

Seawatch - 28 October 2014

Observation time: 0623 - 1704
Observer: Tom Reed

Species counted:
Brant - 2
Wood Duck - 82
American Wigeon - 57
American Black Duck - 42
Mallard - 1
Mallard/American Black Duck - 1
Mallard x American Black Duck - 1
Blue-winged Teal - 1
Northern Shoveler - 9
Northern Pintail - 80
Green-winged Teal - 2,047
Ring-necked Duck - 28
Greater Scaup - 39
Lesser Scaup - 117
Scaup sp. - 44
Aythya sp. - 17
Surf Scoter - 2,716
White-winged Scoter - 6
Black Scoter - 1,366
Dark-winged Scoter - 140
Bufflehead - 21
Redhead - 26
Ruddy Duck - 3
Hooded Merganser - 1
Red-breasted Merganser - 12
Red-throated Loon - 55
Common Loon - 51
Horned Grebe - 19
Northern Gannet - 2,322
Brown Pelican - 1
Double-crested Cormorant - 823
Great Blue Heron - 11
Laughing Gull - 1,745
Bonaparte's Gull - 346
Ring-billed Gull - 273
Herring Gull - 40
Little Gull - 1
Lesser Black-backed Gull - 1
Great Black-backed Gull - 79
Caspian Tern - 1
Common Tern - 1
Forster's Tern - 853
Royal Tern - 446
Black Skimmer - 1
Parasitic Jaeger - 6

Total: 13,933

Seawatch - 27 October 2014

Observation time: 0622 - 1705
Observer: Tom Reed

Species counted:
Canada Goose - 5
Brant - 54
Wood Duck - 135
American Wigeon - 1
American Black Duck - 30
Mallard - 1
Mallard/American Black Duck - 21
Northern Pintail - 3
Green-winged Teal - 64
Greater Scaup - 1
Scaup sp. - 8
Surf Scoter - 2,156
White-winged Scoter - 2
Black Scoter - 991
Dark-winged Scoter - 2,560
Ruddy Duck - 9
Long-tailed Duck - 2
Bufflehead - 39
Red-breasted Merganser - 4
Red-throated Loon - 31
Common Loon - 167
Horned Grebe - 54
Northern Gannet - 1,192
Double-crested Cormorant - 6,158
Great Cormorant - 2
Great Blue Heron - 4
Tricolored Heron - 1
Laughing Gull - 382
Bonaparte's Gull - 141
Ring-billed Gull - 494
Herring Gull - 90
Black-legged Kittiwake - 1
Forster's Tern - 68
Royal Tern - 117
Parasitic Jaeger - 7

Total: 14,995

Seawatch - 27 October 2014

Observation time: 0620 - 1820
Observer: Skye Haas

Species counted:
Canada Goose - 23
Brant - 56
Gadwall - 4
American Wigeon - 24
American Black Duck - 13
Mallard - 2
Northern Shoveler - 2
Northern Pintail - 9
Green-winged Teal - 19
Duck sp. - 57
Common Eider - 1
Eider sp. - 1
Surf Scoter - 1,334
White-winged Scoter - 2
Black Scoter - 2,076
Dark-winged Scoter - 438
Ruddy Duck - 44
Long-tailed Duck - 4
Red-throated Loon - 21
Common Loon - 151
Horned Grebe - 9
Pied-billed Grebe - 1
Northern Gannet - 2,388
Brown Pelican - 6
Double-crested Cormorant - 7,936
Great Cormorant - 6
Great Blue Heron - 43
Great Egret - 29
Laughing Gull - 367
Bonaparte's Gull - 272
Ring-billed Gull - 84
Herring Gull - 32
Great Black-backed Gull - 12
Caspian Tern - 3
Forster's Tern - 166
Royal Tern - 44
Black Skimmer - 4
Parasitic Jaeger - 2
Black-bellied Plover - 61
Semipalmated Plover - 7
American Oystercatcher - 41
Sanderling - 800
Dunlin - 150
Ruddy Turnstone - 10
Red Knot - 20
Dowitcher sp. - 2
Purple Sandpiper - 2
Semipalmated Sandpiper - 4
Calidris sp. - 32

Total: 16,814


A note from Skye:
And I thought there were a lot of Gannets yesterday! The first few hours of the seawatch today could be best described as a river of sulids over the ocean, which as I now type it, seems like some sort of zen birding koan... But anyhow, it was yet another wonderful day at Avalon as the birds were non-stop all day. And it wasn't just gannets either! Another strong Common Loon flight was recorded, and ducks continue to dribble through. A possible female King Eider flew by but was too quick for me to identify, and even though it was a just a small flock, I really enjoyed a late afternoon look at a mixed flock of Pintail, Gadwall and Wigeon; I've always really enjoyed seeing those species in a migratory watch setting. Though we have had a couple good scoter flights this month, both Tom and I speculate that there is something major brewing with the scoters as their numbers have been low so far this season, and to have two "meh" scoter days in a row in the last week of October could mean a really insane flight day in our near future! 

Another great feature to the day was a strong gull movement. It was the first real influx of Ring-billed Gulls and even a decent amount of Herring Gulls were deemed "migrants". Herring and Black-backed Gulls are two of the hardest species to tell if they are actual migrants or just meandering about the waterfront; often their inclusion on a waterbird count total depends on a judgement call on the part of the counter. We try our best but sometimes it takes a few flocks of birds going by before you catch on that there are gulls actually migrating! However, more easy to call migrants were the tight flocks of the always delightful Bonaparte's Gulls that flew by Avalon. One of my more favorite birds, I frequently think about what strange lives these creatures live- spending part of their life cycle nesting in moss-lined stick nests placed in spruce trees in the boreal forest! 

Notable due to its tardiness in migration, a Bank Swallow flew by mid-afternoon. Once again, Purple Finch, Pine Siskin and many kinglets were moving down the coastline filling the Jersey shores with the sounds of my North Woods homeland. Though migration is a perilous journey and as incredible of a life strategy it can be, not all make their destination. We were amazed and a touch horrified when Taffy Mortimer Jefferson, the Laughing Gull mascot of the this year's Seawatch snagged a Kinglet right out of the air in front of us without even opening his wings as he dozed on the seawall. Great reflexes there Taffy!

Bonaparte's Gulls. [Photo by Skye Haas.]

An odd couple - Common Eider and Pied-billed Grebe.
 [Photo by Skye Haas.]

Taffy the Laughing Gull with a mouth full of Kinglet.
[Photo by Skye Haas.]


Hawkwatch - 27 October 2014


Cape May
Cape May Point, New Jersey, USA
Daily Raptor Counts: Oct 27, 2014
-------------------------------------------------------------------

Species            Day's Count    Month Total   Season Total
------------------ ----------- -------------- --------------
Black Vulture                0             88             94
Turkey Vulture               0            649            766
Osprey                       5           1574           3743
Bald Eagle                  16            261            562
Northern Harrier            25            574            750
Sharp-shinned Hawk         249           7582          10830
Cooper's Hawk               96           2150           3004
Northern Goshawk             0              2              2
Red-shouldered Hawk          6             41             48
Broad-winged Hawk            9            492            700
Red-tailed Hawk             50            161            271
Rough-legged Hawk            0              0              0
Golden Eagle                 0              6              6
American Kestrel             9           2016           4254
Merlin                       3            795           1308
Peregrine Falcon             2            616            929
Unknown Accipiter            0              1              4
Unknown Buteo                0              0              0
Unknown Falcon               0              0              1
Unknown Eagle                0              0              0
Unknown Raptor               0              0              1
Zone-tailed Hawk             0              0              1

Total:                     470          17008          27274
----------------------------------------------------------------------

Observation start time: 06:00:00 
Observation end   time: 16:00:00 
Total observation time: 10 hours

Official Counter:        Mary Raikes

Observers:        

Weather:
Very, very clear skies today with light NW winds in the morning and W in
the afternoon.  Temperatures reaching 64F.

Raptor Observations:
A slow morning with mainly accipiters and then some really nice kettles
mid-day with lots of Red-tails.  Flight dropped off in the afternoon with
only a handful of really really high birds.

Non-raptor Observations:
Noticeable movement of Eastern Meadowlark, American Robin, Blue Jays,
Red-winged Blackbird, and Brown-headed Cowbirds in the morning.  Two V's of
Snow Geese(22 and 19) and 1 Blue Goose on the pond.  Still lots of ducks on
the pond including Eurasian Widgeon(3).  

Predictions:
Sunny, with a few clouds, and south winds 9-13 mph.  Warm temps with 74F as
a high.
========================================================================
Cape May information may be found at:
http://www.njaudubon.org/Centers/CMBO/