Saturday, June 12, 2010

College Creek Hawkwatch Season Ends

The 14th consecutive late winter/spring hawkwatch at College Creek ended on May 30th. It began on February 12th and coverage was 68 days (6th highest) and 130.75 hours (4th highest). The total was 1550, the 3rd highest.

Bald Eagles set a new season record of 150, thanks to 2 remarkable days in May (see Blog posts below) and the Osprey total of 266 was also a new season record.

Turkey Vultures at 917 were the 4th best, Black Vultures at 41 were only 8th best as were Northern Harriers, at 30. A rather low Sharp-shinned Hawk total of 45, combined with a high Cooper's Hawk total of 22, to make the ratio of Cooper's to Sharp-shinneds a startling 48%....that compares to 12% and 20% for 2009 and 2008 respectively.

There were 2 Mississippi Kites on May 16th, a species that was widely reported in Virginia this spring. Only 2 years have seen fewer than our 3 Broad-winged Hawks, though they are rare at this water-crossing site and are never seen in flocks here. Red-shouldered Hawks are sporadic and were about average at 5, Red-tailed Hawks at 45 were the 4th best, though far below the record 68.

American Kestrels at 20 were fewer than last year's 33, though better than the previous 4 years. There were 2 Merlins, always rare at the site and no Peregrines, though a Peregrine seen at Hog Island on May 2nd likely flew across the river and past College Creek.

The 1,000th bird of the season was recorded on April 5th, the 2nd earliest date for that event, however, the second half of the season slowed considerably with only 522 birds or 37% of the season total seen after the midpoint, April 7th.

Six American White Pelicans were seen on 2 April dates for a great non-raptor highlight and there were many excellent swallow flights and even some good flights of butterflies crossing the river when winds were strong from the southwest.

The complete data is on the website. For more details about the hawkwatch, please contact me directly. Thanks again to the other regular volunteers Tom Armour, Bill Williams and Fred Blystone.

Brian Taber

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Nighthawk Nest

This female Common Nighthawk was on a nest at Craney Island, Portsmouth, last month.
Brian Taber