Hawkwatch, 30 September 2016

Despite on and off drizzle that turned into steady rain several times, today was a successful and high intensity day for hawkwatching. Strong breezes out of the northeast rushed raptors and nonraptors through at lightning-fast speeds. A Peregrine Falcon took the crowd's breath away as it darted from one side of Bunker Pond to the other in less than a full second. It was incredible to see the stealth and sheer speed of this beautiful raptor!

As we begin to push into early October, Peregrine Falcon flights have the potential to really shine. Keep your eyes out for this raptor shearing through the skies and low over the dunes. Due to their exceptionally aerodynamic form and muscular build Peregrine Falcons seem to migrate through inclement weather with ease. Merlin, the slightly smaller cousin of the Peregrine Falcon, also follow this trend of pushing through the current rainy conditions.

A Peregrine Falcon approaches the Cape May Lighthouse.

Juvenile Peregrine Falcon of the tundrius race migrating overhead.

Today's totals.

Avalon Seawatch, 30 September 2016

     The day dawned with small drops of hail pelting on the wooden windows of the shack. The wind continued to blow at 34mph with gusts nearly knocking me over while I looked head-on into the northeast wind. The air was a tad warmer today, reaching 68 degrees fahrenheit, and the mornings rain turned into a drizzle and then a mist by late afternoon.
     The birds in the air were few, only totaling 186 individuals of 14 species, but there was plenty of action locally on the beach. Sanderlings hid behind thick clumps of seaweed and mounds of blown sand. Every once in awhile a strong gust would blow them into the air and the flock would reassemble at a new location concealed from the wind. Three Spotted Sandpipers stopped for a moment to enjoy the tide pool alongside the jetty. Royal and Caspian Terns dove into the crash occasionally arising with a small fish tucked in its bill. Herring Gulls, Great Black-backed Gulls, and Laughing Gulls danced in the wind before letting it carry them southward.

     Below are the totals for todays count. We look forward to seeing you at the Seawatch, sunrise to sunset, at 8th and 9th street beach in Avalon!

Black Scoter  5  6  Great Black-backed Gull  32  -  
Brown Pelican  4  -  Herring Gull  11  -  
Double-crested Cormorant  11  -  Lesser Black-backed Gull  2  -  
American Oystercatcher  2  -  Caspian Tern  6  2  
Sanderling  13  -  Royal Tern  7  3  
Dunlin  6  -  Forster's Tern  7  -  
Laughing Gull *  66  -  American Kestrel  2  1  

Totals: 186 individuals, 14 species, 35:21 hours

Present: Osprey 3, Semipalmated Plover 6, Spotted Sandpiper 3, Sanderling 47, Laughing Gull 9*, Ring-billed Gull 3, Great Black-backed Gull 9, Herring Gull 39, Caspian Tern 7, Royal Tern 3

Avalon Seawatch, 29 September 2016

     It was a cool and stormy day today with a total of 136 birds of 14 different species. The wind blew strong and steady out of the northeast at 30mph with gusts exceeding 40mph. The jetty was covered in rolling waves with yellow foam from the powerful surf. The #6 buoy made its way over the jetty early that morning with the high tide (pictured above). Visibility was very poor with low lying clouds and pelting raindrops throughout the day. Despite the weather, there was still amazing sightings of Northern Gannets diving near the inlet and Sanderlings zooming by in the wind. Attached below is a table of todays sightings and feel free to go to the live data link on Cape May Bird Observatory's homepage for live updates throughout the days! Join us anytime, sunrise to sunset, at 8th and 9th street beach in Avalon!

Black Scoter  8  3  Great Black-backed Gull  7  -  
Gannet  2  -  Herring Gull  1  -  
Double-crested Cormorant  2  -  Caspian Tern  1  -  
Semipalmated Plover  10  -  Royal Tern  9  -  
Willet  3  -  Forster's Tern  5  -  
Sanderling  21  -  Sterna spec.  21  -  
Laughing Gull  37  -  Bottle-Nosed Dolphin  6  -  

Totals: 136 individuals, 14 species, 11:00 hours

Present: Osprey 6, Semipalmated Plover 1, Turnstone 3, Sanderling 53, Least Sandpiper 3, Laughing Gull 2, Ring-billed Gull 3, Great Black-backed Gull 6, Herring Gull 36, Caspian Tern 2, Royal Tern 1

Bold = Remarkable observation (scarce or rare species or large number)

Hawkwatch, 29 September 2016

Cape May
Cape May Point, New Jersey, USA
Daily Raptor Counts: Sep 29, 2016

Species            Day's Count    Month Total   Season Total
------------------ ----------- -------------- --------------
Black Vulture                0              0              0
Turkey Vulture               0            134            134
Osprey                       1           3004           3004
Bald Eagle                   0            126            126
Northern Harrier             1            134            134
Sharp-shinned Hawk           0           1822           1822
Cooper's Hawk                0            226            226
Northern Goshawk             0              0              0
Red-shouldered Hawk          0              5              5
Broad-winged Hawk            0            123            123
Red-tailed Hawk              0             39             39
Rough-legged Hawk            0              0              0
Golden Eagle                 0              0              0
American Kestrel             0           2138           2138
Merlin                       2            489            489
Peregrine Falcon            10            194            194
Unknown Accipiter            0              0              0
Unknown Buteo                0              0              0
Unknown Falcon               0              0              0
Unknown Eagle                0              0              0
Unknown Raptor               0              0              0

Total:                      14           8434           8434

Observation start time: 06:30:00 
Observation end   time: 13:00:00 
Total observation time: 4.5 hours

Official Counter:        Tom Reed


Emelia Oleson, Arthur Nelson, John Cannizzo, Mark Garland w/ Road Scholar

Overcast with light rain during the early-AM, becoming heavy from mid-AM
onward. Winds E/ENE 15-25mph, with gusts to 35mph. Count suspended for the
day by 1300 EST.

Raptor Observations:
A few Peregrines moved through before the monsoon arrived. 

Non-raptor Observations:

Rain, 68ºF, winds NE 15-20mph

Morning Flight, 27-28 September 2016

Let's just forget about yesterday.  It drizzled most of the time and only four birds did anything morning flight-ish.  

But today...  oh today was wonderful.  Songbirds continued to fight the east wind and come pass through the count today, and possibly the oceanic passage proven for Blackpoll Warbler was brought to the shore to give us the highest count of the species thus far for the season with 164.  Blackpoll was the most abundant, followed by Palm Warbler (73) and Northern Parula (46).  The 15 species of warblers also included Northern Waterthrush, Tennessee, Nashville, Cape May, Magnolia, and Pine Warblers.

Other cool birds were goin' on too.  A Brown Thrasher got 4 meters up over the phrags and road and flew more than halfway up the impoundment edge.  A Summer Tanager dove for cover right in front of us watchers.  I was truly not-non-plussed (I think that made-up word means impressed and pleased) to see 4 Dickcissels, in their own flock, call and pass north along the road, just to the west of the Higbee dike.  Most I had ever seen together before was 2. 

List time:

Avalon Seawatch, 28 September 2016

Welcome to the Avalon Seawatch!

     The first week of the Avalon Seawatch was full of great birds, fantastic weather, and wonderfully supportive visitors! The majority of the species counted were Double Crested Cormorants (4,687), Laughing Gulls (2,916), and Black Scoters (420). There were also sightings of Humpback Whales, Dolphins, Jaegers, and Northern Gannets! Altogether, these past few days we have counted almost 10,000 individual birds! Attached below is a summary of todays count for September 28th.

Dark-bellied Brent Goose  2  -  Semipalmated Plover  2  -  Royal Tern  17  -  
Greater / Lesser Scaup  3  -  Sanderling  48  -  Forster's Tern  42  -  
Surf Scoter  3  -  Black Skimmer  4  -  Sterna spec.  5  -  
Black Scoter  90  -  Laughing Gull  206  -  Arctic Skua  1  -  
Great Northern Diver  1  -  Great Black-backed Gull  7  -  Merlin  1  -  
Brown Pelican  1  -  Herring Gull  3  -  Bottle-Nosed Dolphin  12  -  
Gannet  5  -  Lesser Black-backed Gull  2  -    
Double-crested Cormorant  799  -  Caspian Tern  7  -    

Totals: 1261 individuals, 22 species, 35:37 hours

Present: Osprey 3, Turnstone 3, Sanderling 27, Dunlin 3, Laughing Gull 23, Great Black-backed Gull 36, Herring Gull 7, Hirundine sp. 200

Bold = Remarkable observation (scarce or rare species or large number)

     Overall, there has been lots of excitement at the seawatch with over 60 visitors eager to see migrating waterbirds. A big THANK YOU to all who came out this past week! We look forward to seeing you in the weeks to come, sunrise to sunset, at 8th and 9th street beach in Avalon!

Be sure to view our live data page at:

Hawkwatch, 28 September 2016

Cape May
Cape May Point, New Jersey, USA
Daily Raptor Counts: Sep 28, 2016

Species            Day's Count    Month Total   Season Total
------------------ ----------- -------------- --------------
Black Vulture                0              0              0
Turkey Vulture               1            134            134
Osprey                     226           3003           3003
Bald Eagle                   5            126            126
Northern Harrier            14            133            133
Sharp-shinned Hawk         133           1822           1822
Cooper's Hawk               14            226            226
Northern Goshawk             0              0              0
Red-shouldered Hawk          0              5              5
Broad-winged Hawk            3            123            123
Red-tailed Hawk              0             39             39
Rough-legged Hawk            0              0              0
Golden Eagle                 0              0              0
American Kestrel            36           2138           2138
Merlin                      20            487            487
Peregrine Falcon            59            184            184
Unknown Accipiter            0              0              0
Unknown Buteo                0              0              0
Unknown Falcon               0              0              0
Unknown Eagle                0              0              0
Unknown Raptor               0              0              0

Total:                     511           8420           8420

Observation start time: 06:00:00 
Observation end   time: 16:45:00 
Total observation time: 10.75 hours

Official Counter:        Tom Reed


Temps steady in the upper 60s/lower 70s. Winds NE 10-15mph during the
early-AM, becoming E 15-20mph (gusts to 30mph) from mid-AM onward. Clouds
increased through the AM, eventually leading to an extended period of
moderate rain during the midday hours. Mostly cloudy to end. 

Raptor Observations:
Peregrines finally made their presence known today, with the day's first
arriving during the late-AM, followed by singles, 2s, and 3s through the
rest of the day. Another strong showing for Osprey, with birds moving along
a broad front all day. 

Non-raptor Observations:
Monarch (700+), Eurasian Wigeon (2/continuing), Pectoral Sandpiper (1),
Double-crested Cormorant (800+), Common Loon (3), Parasitic Jaeger (3),
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher (1), Blackpoll Warbler (50+)

Showers, 70ºF, winds E 20-25mph w/ gusts to 35mph 

Hawkwatch, 27 September 2016

The day started off with two Eurasian Wigeon in the scope at the same time. Intermittent showers made for an interesting day. Rain put a halt for a good portion of the day's migration and the clear times allowed for songbirds and raptors to move through. Even during the quiet drizzly times swarms of Tree Swallows filled the air!

Eurasian Wigeon

Tree Swallow

Northern Harrier

The day's bird count.

Hawkwatch, 26 September 2016

Sustained south winds persisted from early morning onward. Much of the hawk flight was low and streamlined. It is truly breathtaking to witness how sleekly-built raptors like Merlin and Peregrine Falcon can shear through headwinds with ease.

A juvenile Cooper's Hawk soars in front of a female American Kestrel.

Juvenile Peregrine Falcon. Just look at the vertical streaks in addition to the light blue feet and cere (base of the bill).

Juvenile Sharp-shinned Hawk.

Two Eurasian Wigeon were seen within Bunker Pond yesterday. Here is one of them flying alongside two American Wigeon.

The day's bird totals.

Morning Flight, 26 September 2016

The flight-effect of the last 5 days finally slowed down a bit today.  93 Northern Flickers flew at all heights and vectors, casting many interesting looks.  Smaller numbers today also meant lower diversity, but it was the second day in a row with Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (2), and the apparent arrival of new passage migrant mimids: Gray Catbird (6) and Brown Thrasher (5).  The nocturnal migration of these creatures is quite shrouded in mystery compared to most eastern songbirds because they don't call at night during migration and only "do morning flight" through undergrowth, and across smaller open gaps, in punctuated bursts, it seems.

Here's from today:

Hawkwatch, 24-25 September 2016

The past two days have been jam-packed with raptors and songbirds, and we haven't even made it into October! Throughout the fall cool fronts often create sparks of impressive bird migration. Northern Flicker numbers are increasing as this cool front progresses. On Saturday we had an impressive push of Osprey and Great Blue Heron throughout the late evening hours.

Northern Flicker

First-of-the-fall White-crowned Sparrow!

A Palm Warbler checks out the hawkwatching platform.

Merlin nearly catching a Tree Swallow.

Saturday's bird totals.

Sunday's bird totals.

Morning Flight, 25 September 2016

Hip Hop Hooray!  It was another terrific northeast wind flight-day at Morning Flight Project! We're now going on the last 5 days producing significant morning flights with Friday being a little lower in magnitude than the other four mornings.  It's exciting to see so many astounded and enthralled faces new and old up there; a good flight, I think to be, is humbling, memorable, and fun, and a huge flight is just life-changing.

Today was very close in numbers and diversity to these last days (745 northbound warblers of 21 species) and had a decidedly early-October feel given the occurrence of a few species to indicate this like: 1 Yellow-bellied Sapsucker,1 Brown Creeper, 7 American Pipit, 4 Purple Finch, and 1 Rusty Blackbird. 

60 total landbird species were counted throughout the morning, just like both an Alder Fly and a new one, White-throated Sparrow shot through the walnuts and over the phragmites with just a few minutes before the close of the 4th hour, and when very little avian life was present, let alone showing signs of continued migratory behavior for most of that period.

North-swooping Northern Flickers stole some of the show to the order of 223 of them. Ten Red-bellied Woodpeckers jazzed it up, and I'm out of cliché descriptors by the time we add an adult-type Red-headed Woodpecker, a "Yellow-shafted" Flicker that had red-orange chromatic abnormality in the center of the flight feathers, 37 Red-breasted Nuthatches, and 20 Red-eyed Vireos.  

The southbound birds entered on today's count likely represent individuals that turned around after reaching the north edge of the dike impoundment or beyond (except Blue Jay, Fish Crow, European Starling, and the blackbirds, to the south).

Warblers were quick, often direct, and half in shade and half in full light, which experiencially pulsed from extremely challenging to outstandingly delightful.  50 Blackpoll, 220 Palm, 23 Cape May, 17 Black-and-white Warblers, 122 Northern Parula, 55 American Redstart, and 17 Northern Waterthrush, were the majority of the flight I detected, along with 178 warbler sp. 

Here's a list:

Morning Flight, 23-24 September 2016

Two more good days at the peak of the neotropical migrant season continue to build into the season's data.  Yesterday,165 northbound warblers of 15 species including Connecticut and Wilson's and a Red-headed Woodpecker were nice highlights.

Today was cloudy, cool, and interesting because it was all about the warblers.  774 out of the 975 birds counted total (including some raptors and waterbirds) were northbound warblers.  They broke out into 19 species with 228 mostly being higher and counted as "spuhs" or warbler sp.  154 Palm Warbler, 127 Northern Parula, 94 American Redstart, a whopping 52 Cape May Warbler, and 37 Blackpoll Warbler rounded down the numbers highlights.  Eastern Phoebe and American Pipit were new for the season. 

Friday, 23 Sept 2016

Saturday, 24 Sept 2016

Hawkwatch, 21-22 September 2016

The past two days have been great at the hawkwatch. Wednesday started out with thousands of Tree Swallows filling the air in addition to some water-dwelling Atlantic Bottlenose Dolphins, all seen from the platform. We had 531 raptors migrate through on Thursday. See you at the count!

Male American Kestrel. Note his trailing edge of white "Christmas lights."

A gorgeous Cape May Warbler checks out the platform.

Northern Flicker migrating over the lighthouse.

Wednesday's flight.

Thursday's flight.

Morning Flight, 22 September 2016

There was a fantabulous morning flight again for the second day in a row!

Flying today were 502 northbound warblers of 19 species in about 3 hours, compared to yesterday with 523 northbound warblers of 20 species in 4 hours.  The main difference today was that the sun was out on the horizon at dawn (something the clouds have foiled about 35/39 days so far this season!) and it died down today much earlier.  However during yesterday's 4th hour the major movers were Cape May and Palm Warblers, known for later morning flying in the fall.  

Wind forecasting alone would prove ineffective in predicting this prominent fall flight/arrival this morning.  The radar backed the story up, in full, this time and the conditions were awesome this morning!  More early sun meant better looks at pattern and coloration of the birds.  Many still did fly into the northeast-ish wind like yesterday, but we also got treated to a well-lit and active western flightline today.  

The many highlights include: 2 Eastern Wood-Pewee, 30 Red-eyed Vireo, 83 American Redstart beaten out by 95 Northern Parula (can happen in second half of September), beaten out still by 112 Palm Warbler ("mid-autumn" for warblers is here folks!), 3 Bay-breasted Warbler, and 17 Indigo Bunting. 


Morning Flight, 21 September 2016

Birds just had to move last night, after perhaps being bottled up and still facing the storm parked to our south.  It was an action-packed and difficult-to-count flight this morning as many birds favored flying into the northeast headwind, and as a result were relatively distant and poorly-lit. Many birds, however flew close by and plenty were perching and resting as well today.

21 species of warblers of ~500 individuals counted were a great highlight!
Check out the full list here:

Hawkwatch, 20 September 2016

The day's flight was steady and relaxing. The raptors almost seemed to take turns crossing the horizon on their journey south. We still had numerous raptors passing through despite the east winds! A stunning Cape May Warbler perched beautifully for everyone on the platform to see and Tree Swallows filled the air.

Cape May Warbler

Great Egret (left) and Snowy Egret (right)

Tree Swallows feeding on bay berries.

Totals from today.

Morning Flight, 20 September 2016

Although a full cold front didn't push through after a conveniently-timed >2 inches of rain touched down yesterday mid-morning through the rest of the day, enough of a migratory pulse was sent coastward to be picked up at the morning flight count.  

22 Northern Parula and 15 Blackpoll Warblers led the northbound charge along with 12 other warbler spp. (multiple species) such as Tennessee, Blackburnian, and Yellow-rumped. A lone Cape May Warbler hopped treetops south just like yesterday.  Two Least Flycatcher was at least a little unexpected.  Bobolinks numbered 71/13 north/south.  It turned out to be avery very productive morning to 18 visitors from 5 different countries (Canada, Spain/Gibraltar, Finland, United Kingdom, and of course the USA!) Thanks to Interpretive Naturalist Jessie for manning the Morning Flight platform this AM. 


Morning Flight, 19 September 2016

What I say yesterday? 'Today was slow'? Yeah, OK, well today was slower than slow, the slowest day for morning flight for the season.  But that does not mean it wasn't a good day birding!?  What!? No Morning Flight!?  Yeah, you heard me.  It was STILL good!  

What I mean is BAM, a big, young Peregrine Falcon, and fall can give you a super still, close-minded shot of it screaming by. 

Waiting for something else to disturb the blue-ish white and gray sheets of incoming pluvial enrichment, Solitary Sandpiper skating away across the bay. 

The Cape May (cape may warbler) was to the south today, but thought better of a full sweep across the hopeful dreary to alight in the highest canopy to the west I could see.  

Talk of these and many other things is something I can only thank the great folks who come to Morning Flight to experience the enchanting varieties of perception through birding.

(Give me a break, I said it was a slow day)

And here's the list:

Hawkwatch, 18 September 2016

Yesterday's flight of birds moved through just before the storm. Southeast and east winds made for a slower day of migration however great views of birds took place during every hour of the count. Low-flying Turkey Vultures patrolled around the edges of Bunker Pond. It was fun to study the red-headed adults compared to the gray-headed juveniles. 

One of the biggest highlights of the day was spotting and photographing an Osprey which was wearing an antenna! After doing some follow-up research I found out that this was the same Osprey (named Daphne) that we documented over the Cape May hawkwatching platform on September 12th. She was equipped with the antenna in Newfoundland, Canada last month. 

Osprey wearing a tracking antenna.

Beautiful adult Turkey Vulture. They help keep our roads clean!

The day's totals.

Morning Flight, 18 September 2016

Tooodaaayyy wwwaasss sssllooowww (today was slow). 'Nuff said? Well, even though no legitimate flight was happening it was very special to witness the group of YOUNG BIRDERS who traveled from within New Jersey, and farther afield to join the greats, Richard Crossley and Michael O'Brien, on a birding weekend in Cape May. Nature Center of Cape May educator, Sam Wilson has been pivotal for encouraging and unifying young birders and was also there to graciously host our younger naturalist visitors and their parents. 

It may have been a steamy, still morning but my senses were freshened to see the youth and leading birders of the future get to explore Higbee Beach

Hawkwatch, 17 September 2016

East winds had nothing on this beautiful day. Typically west and northwest winds are thought of as the conditions that really bring the raptors to Cape May on a large scale. West winds that lead into trailing winds from the north can also be quite ornithologically thrilling.  It wasn't a crazy busy day nor was it a day of too few raptors; it was an easy going day of birds and great raptor study both up close and at a distance. Bald Eagles and Osprey were seen flying overhead as several Merlin zipped low inland and over the dunes. A few warblers flew overhead too!

Magnolia Warbler

Nashville Warbler

Today's totals.

Morning Flight, 16-17 September 2016

Here's the fix on the last two days.  Winds haven't been ideal, but perhaps you just can't stop some migration flow when the calendar says it's the middle of September and neotropical migrants should be at their overall peak in numbers and diversity through the mid-Atlantic region.  

Friday, Sept. 16, seemed to follow this logic where Tom Reed counted a small but significant showing of 401 individual landbirds of 43 species in migration.  There was a really nice showing of 'neotropicals' with 159 warblers of 17 species. Two Philadelphia Vireos were counted, along with the season's first Ruby-crowned Kinglet. 

Today, the 17th, held very little in the way of morning flight.  Most of the 36 warblers, including 10 Palm and 6 Northern Waterthrush flew back and forth from the southern to northern ends of the west side (that's where we watch from) of the dredge spoil that is the illustrious Higbee Dike.

We're looking out for Monday to be a very fine migration day, with rain potentially impending to make for a more- or less-heavy migration day than a clear day might produce. 

Hawkwatch, 16 September 2016

East winds made for a high-flying day for most raptors. Despite the conditions we still had great views of low-flying raptors too! Our second Red-shouldered Hawk of the season took place today as did numerous Bald Eagles passing through.  Mid-day visitors were treated to the spectacle of a Bald Eagle pursuing an Osprey in hopes of a meal. After several minutes of zig-zaggin the Osprey dropped the fish and the Bald Eagle had a meal to go! It was a great day to be out hawkwatching.

Immature Turkey Vulture. Adults have red heads while young have gray heads.

One of the Monarchs seen flying past the platform today was tagged!

Osprey releasing its fish to the Bald Eagle.

Today's totals.

Morning Flight, 12-15 September 2016

Mid-month, and now thats one month fully behind us at the 2016 Morning Flight Project.  It has been a great one with very few truly slow days. See the link at the bottom for the summary totals so far this year with peak occurrences and species time range, thanks to our partner Trektellen.org!

12 Sept 2016
-light NE wind, few clouds-
A nice flight with a robust diversity of the typical seasonal Morning Flight species plus a little raptor flight. 490 northbound warblers of 20 species including 2 Connecticut Warblers. Also, the first Warbling Vireo and second Purple Finch of the year. 83 northbound American Goldfinch was also the first prominent push for the little "potato chips".

13 Sept 2016
-light SE wind, warm-
A much slower day than the 12th, but with some fun stuff like Common Loon, Yellow-billed Cuckoo, and Eastern Wood-Pewee.

14 Sept 2016
-light SSW wind-
Ughh, now today is even slower with 59 individual landbirds counted total.

15 Sept 2016
First-off, A million Thanks to HUGH SIMMONS for having a little fun for us all while he ably whacked down phragmites atop the Higbee Dike that were threatening to obscure the next good look at a Wilson's Warbler or Common Yellowthroat, hopping and sneaking their way by.  Your work, Hugh, looks great and is appreciated by future Morning Flight visitors.

-strong NE wind, many low clouds, cool and fall-feeling-
This was a little bit of a surprise 'sleeper' flight that swept down the NE coast. A really nice and challenging day with 1 Connecticut Warbler and 23 Cape May Warbler among 16 species. 

Here is what the season looks like so far:

Hawkwatch, 15 September 2016

Cape May Point, New Jersey, USA
Daily Raptor Counts: Sep 15, 2016

Species            Day's Count    Month Total   Season Total
------------------ ----------- -------------- --------------
Black Vulture                0              0              0
Turkey Vulture               2             38             38
Osprey                     334           1609           1609
Bald Eagle                   9             54             54
Northern Harrier             7             69             69
Sharp-shinned Hawk          47            484            484
Cooper's Hawk               12            126            126
Northern Goshawk             0              0              0
Red-shouldered Hawk          0              1              1
Broad-winged Hawk            3             43             43
Red-tailed Hawk              1             16             16
Rough-legged Hawk            0              0              0
Golden Eagle                 0              0              0
American Kestrel           142           1387           1387
Merlin                      56            193            193
Peregrine Falcon             6             44             44
Unknown Accipiter            0              0              0
Unknown Buteo                0              0              0
Unknown Falcon               0              0              0
Unknown Eagle                0              0              0
Unknown Raptor               0              0              0

Total:                     619           4064           4064

Observation start time: 05:30:00 
Observation end   time: 16:00:00 
Total observation time: 10.5 hours

Official Counter:        Tom Reed


Seasonable, post-front. Heavy overcast during AM, becoming mostly clear by
mid-PM. Winds NE becoming E, 15-20mph throughout. 

Raptor Observations:
Another good flight day for Osprey, punctuated by an impressive lift-off
during the early-AM. Best day so far for Merlin; a few pulses of Kestrels
and Sharp-shins. 

Non-raptor Observations:
Wood Duck (2), Northern Pintail (5), Great Blue Heron (66), Common
Nighthawk (3), Purple Martin (21), Blackpoll Warbler (2), Yellow-rumped
Warbler (1), Savannah Sparrow (1), Bobolink (275), Monarch (43). 

Sunny, 74ºF, winds E 10-15mph 

Hawkwatch, 14 September 2016

Cape May Point, New Jersey, USA
Daily Raptor Counts: Sep 14, 2016

Species            Day's Count    Month Total   Season Total
------------------ ----------- -------------- --------------
Black Vulture                0              0              0
Turkey Vulture              29             36             36
Osprey                     319           1275           1275
Bald Eagle                   5             45             45
Northern Harrier             6             62             62
Sharp-shinned Hawk          43            437            437
Cooper's Hawk               34            114            114
Northern Goshawk             0              0              0
Red-shouldered Hawk          1              1              1
Broad-winged Hawk           16             40             40
Red-tailed Hawk              4             15             15
Rough-legged Hawk            0              0              0
Golden Eagle                 0              0              0
American Kestrel            74           1245           1245
Merlin                      23            137            137
Peregrine Falcon             3             38             38
Unknown Accipiter            0              0              0
Unknown Buteo                0              0              0
Unknown Falcon               0              0              0
Unknown Eagle                0              0              0
Unknown Raptor               0              0              0

Total:                     557           3445           3445

Observation start time: 05:30:00 
Observation end   time: 16:00:00 
Total observation time: 10.5 hours

Official Counter:        Tom Reed


Unseasonably mild and sunny. Winds SW 5-10mph during the AM, becoming W/NW
during the midday hours before easing back to S by end of day. 

Raptor Observations:
A strong movement of Osprey, particularly during the midday hours when up
to 25 were in view at once and groups of 6-8 birds were regularly exiting
SW toward Delaware. The midday's brief W/NW winds also brought in some
accipiters and falcons, plus an early Red-shouldered Hawk. 

Non-raptor Observations:
Yellow-crowned Night-Heron (1), Northern Pintail (2), American Wigeon (3),
Solitary Sandpiper (1), Stilt Sandpiper (2), Ruby-throated Hummingbird (7),
Blackpoll Warbler (1), Cloudless Sulphur (50+), Black Saddlebags (3000+)

Mostly cloudy, 72ºF, winds NE 15-20mph 

Hawkwatch, 12-13 September 2016

The past two days of hawkwatching have been quite eventful. Less-than-prime winds out of the southeast have have shifted some of the migration high and a little to the west on Monday and Tuesday but that didn't stop the viewers from having a delightful time. Monday morning started out with a bang...

I got to the platform about 20 minutes to sunrise. The eastern skies were mottled in cloud wisps of dark orange, pink, and violet, gradually becoming illuminated as the morning minutes progressed. I took a glance up in the sky upon my arrival and saw silhouettes flapping above me in the deep lavender sky. The banana peel-like wingbeats and elongated tails instantly meant American Kestrels. How special it was to see these birds taking off and migrating before true sunrise. They must have flown to the area during the late evening before, following Sunday's big American Kestrel movement. By sunrise I had tallied 33 American Kestrels throughout the skies. Most were flying overhead heading east while a flurry of other kestrels attempted to get the highest perch around the lighthouse.

American Kestrels flying around the top of the Cape May Lighthouse. Digiscoped.

Raptors streamed by as the morning progressed. Osprey made their own flight lines as Merlin and American Kestrels took the lower-flying route. One Osprey flying by (carrying a fish) had an antenna on its back. Low and behold this Osprey was equipped with the antenna earlier this year in Newfoundland, Canada! 

Osprey flying by with a tracking antenna on her back.

Belted Kingfisher migrating by the platform.


The big push of Red-tailed Hawks is yet to come... 
A beautiful juvenile Red-tailed Hawk is shown here.

Monday's totals (above)

Tuesday's totals (above)

Hawkwatch, 11 September 2016

Today started off on a special note with Bobolinks (once again) pouring through the skies. The largest flock seen migrating overhead consisted of 325 Bobolink, many of them vocalizing while on the go.. By closing time today 1,891 Bobolinks had been seen from the Cape May hawkwatching platform. But that's not all...

Bobolinks migrating overhead.

Osprey fly around daily, many of them clenching recently-caught fish within their talons. Sometimes the Bald Eagles eye up the Osprey's fish in search of an easy meal. Bald Eagles were seen chasing Osprey numerous times today. Having Bunker Pond in front of the platform provides these fish-eating raptors with plenty of food. Sometimes aerial maneuvers are enough to allow Osprey to flee from a Bald Eagle, however sometimes Bald Eagles outwit the Osprey and get the Osprey to release the fish! A Bald Eagle (below) was about to get the recently-released fish that the Osprey dropped. A Turkey Vulture is shown in the upper left corner of the picture.

Raptor Drama.

By mid-morning the winds had turned to northwest, sustained throughout the entire afternoon. American Kestrels put on another spectacular show of migration too. "Lines" of up to 12 American Kestrels at a time were observed streaming along the horizon. Merlins and Sharp-shinned Hawks mingled with them throughout the flight. Tomorrow could be another good day of migration following today's cool and dry northwest winds! I just heard a few chip notes of migrating birds through my window while typing this... See you at the platform tomorrow!

Today's birds.