Hawkwatch, 18 November 2016

We had a good flight of raptor migration today. A total of 130 raptors were tallied with a late season American Kestrel complimenting the seasonal kettles of Red-shouldered Hawks and Red-tailed Hawks. One of the special treats about late November is that of the raptors coming through now, a good portion of them can be in adult plumage. In general juvenile raptors tend to migrate through before adult raptors do (when looking at the migration timing of a single species). Due to the geography of the east coast and the location of Cape May, our hawkwatch here tends to see a significant amount of young raptors all season long. Despite this trend, right now is prime time for getting great views of adult Cooper's Hawks, Sharp-shinned Hawks, Red-tailed Hawks, and more...

One of the highlights today was seeing an abieticola Red-tailed Hawk fly right over the platform. Abieticola means "dweller of the firs." This variety of Red-tailed Hawk resides in the Canadian forests and tends to show up at northern hawkwatch in the late parts of migration. This abieticola Red-tailed Hawk (sometimes called "northern" Red-tailed Hawk) soared above our heads for several minutes. We had great looks at this bird's orangey-washed undersides, extra bold belly band, dark patagial mark, and thick black trailing edge to the wing. This variety of Red-tailed Hawk as a whole is known for its colorful and boldly-marked appearance. You never know what you'll see at the hawkwatch.

There is a substantial cold front coming through parts of Sunday and Monday. It will be interesting to see what birds show up before and after the front. See you tomorrow at the hawkwatch!

Abieticola adult Red-tailed Hawk

Abieticola adult Red-tailed Hawk. Just look at the colors and markings!

Immature Northern Harrier

Juvenile Red-shouldered Hawk.

Juvenile Cooper's Hawk

Belted Kingfisher hovering to eye up some fish

Two of the four Monarchs seen today!

Today's sightings

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