Due to some unusually good weather for February and excellent coverage, we were able to shatter the previous high total for February, which was 204 in 1998. This February, with 19 days coverage, we recorded 344. As usual, Turkey Vultures made up the bulk of the early season flight, but our 8 species included 16 Black Vultures, 5 Ospreys, 12 Bald Eagles, 3 Northern Harriers, 1 Sharp-shinned Hawk, 1 Cooper's Hawk and 13 Red-tailed Hawks. A Peregrine, quite rare at this site, seen on February 24th, was headed south across the river and so not counted. Also on that day we saw 135 Tundra Swans. We have seen 2 Lesser Black-backed Gulls, the Glaucous Gull noted above, a few Tree Swallows and dozens of crows crossing the river, most of which did not vocalize.
The dark domes are the Surry Nuclear Power Plant, 2 miles across the James River to the south, the map shows the point of land at Hog Island Wildlife Management Area which the birds follow and the sign provides a bit of history.
We got off to a chilly (28F) start for the 15th consecutive late winter/spring hawkwatch at College Creek on Feb 9th, but Tom Armour, Fred Blystone and I were rewarded with 11 Turkey Vultures crossing the river on a southeast wind. We started a day earlier than scheduled due to predicted snow on Feb 10th. The hawkwatch is located on the James River, 3 miles southeast of Williamsburg, on the Colonial Parkway and operates daily through May, weather permitting, from mid-morning to early afternoon, when birds use the warming air to make the water-crossing. We often see a wide variety of other migrants, including shorebirds, waterfowl and swallows. Data is posted on Hawkcount.org site and regular updates are made to the VA List Serve and this blog. Visitors are always welcome, feel free to e-mail me directly for more information.