Hawkwatch - Saturday & Sunday, September 22 & 23, 2018

The past two days' flights of raptors have brought on so many thrills. Saturday's migration was exceptional as over 1,500 birds of prey moved through the skies!

The most numerous raptors on Sunday were 538 Osprey and 535 American Kestrels. It seemed like rivers of Osprey covered the skies at times. While scanning around and picking up the many Osprey throughout the day, gently-swirling kettles of Sharp-shinned Hawks, Cooper's Hawks would appear incredible high up. Accompanying these accipiters were uncommon treats of Peregrine Falcons and Northern Harriers. It is near impossible to describe the true essence and thrill of counting and witnessing these incredible numbers of raptors moving throughout the area.

While locking onto a "line" of high up Osprey, I noticed that their numbers were increasing without losing migrational structure in the sky. As the moments progresses, more and more Osprey came into view. One of the treasure hunt challenges of counting the busy days of raptor migration is picking out the oddballs and different species. Over the course of 5 minutes this one line of raptors included 46 Osprey and 15 Peregrine Falcons.

The excitement built as the hours continued into the evening. Without any sense of slowing down, Osprey plowed through the air with ease as they meandered over the hawk watch, around the lighthouse, and over the bay. Merlin numbers peaked in the late evening as dozens of these dark and speedy falcons took over the airspace, most of them eating dragonflies on the go.

American Kestrel.

Peregrine Falcon (bottom right) and American Kestrel (upper left).

Osprey (flying to the right),
Peregrine Falcon (perched on the lighthouse railing),
and plastic Great Horned Owl (inside).


Saturday's totals.

Sunday's totals.

Good hawkwatching,
Erik Bruhnke

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