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)

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