Monday, October 27, 2014

Passerine Migration Update

Purple Finches, Pine Siskins, American Goldfinches and House Finches have been heard flying over the Kiptopeke Hawk Watch Platform throughout the past week. This morning, approximately 50 Purple Finches and 40 Pine Siskins were counted flying over the platform. Later today, 30 Purple Finches were spotted around a bird feeder on the Eastern Shore of Virginia National Wildlife Refuge.

Sparrows have been seen foraging around the Kiptopeke Hawk Watch Platform. This morning 150 were seen around the feeders by the parking lot. The flock consisted of mostly White-throated Sparrows and Dark-eyed Juncos, with a few Chipping Sparrows, Song Sparrows, White-crowned Sparrows, Eastern Towhees, and Field Sparrows.

Purple Finch by a black sunflower feeder.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Newspaper Article about Kiptopeke Hawk Watch

The Virginia Pilot Newspaper reporter, Diane Tennant, and photographer, Bill Tiernan, hung out with myself and others on the Kiptopeke Hawk Watch, two weeks ago, to write an article about the hawk watch. Check out the article here:


Friday, October 17, 2014

Monarch Migration Update

This past weekend, October 10-12, there was a peak in Monarch Migration. Although not many were seen from the hawk watch during this time, the roost site at Wise Point was covered in Monarch Butterflies. Cole estimated 300 Monarchs were roosting at Wise Point during that time.

Monarch Butterflies near Wise Point last weekend. Photo taken by Cole Gandee.


Monday, October 13, 2014

October 11 2014 Kiptopeke Hawk Watch Big Sit

The Big Sit at the Kiptopeke hawkwatch started out with heavy early morning rain. The remainder of the day was overcast with intermittent drizzle. Due to these unfavorable conditions, the total for the Big Sit was only 52 species. Thank you to Bob Anderson, Ellison Orcutt, Brian Sullivan, Thuy Tran and Brian Taber for their help with the Big Sit. 
The 52 species from the October 11th Big Sit:
Canada Goose
Brown Pelican
Double-crested Cormorant
Great Blue Heron
Turkey Vulture
Black Vulture
Bald Eagle
Northern Harrier
Sharp-shinned Hawk
Cooper’s Hawk
American Kestrel
Peregrine Falcon
Rock Pigeon
Mourning Dove
Laughing Gull
Ring-billed Gull
Herring Gull
Great Black-backed Gull
Caspian Tern
Royal Tern
Chimney Swift
Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Belted Kingfisher
Red-headed Woodpecker
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Pileated Woodpecker
Blue Jay
American Crow
Fish Crow
Eastern Phoebe
Tree Swallow
Northern Rough-winged Swallow
Carolina Chickadee
Tufted Titmouse
Carolina Wren
House Wren
Gray Catbird
Northern Mockingbird
European Starling
Northern Parula
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Pine Warbler
Palm Warble
Blackpoll Warbler
Common Yellowthroat
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
Chipping Sparrow
Northern Cardinal
Indigo Bunting

A Peregrine Falcon visited the platform on Sunday, with Falconer Sharon Montgomery from "Flight of the Falcon"

Friday, October 10, 2014

Swainson's Hawk

A juvenile Swainson's Hawk was seen hunting on Route 13, by Brian Sullivan, this morning.  A crowd gathered as birders arrived for the Eastern Shore Virginia Birding and Wildlife Festival. Unfortunately, the bird was later found dead roadside with a broken leg and neck.

Swainson's Hawk perched on a power line just North of Sunset Beach Inn this morning.
Photo taken by Zak Poulton

Sunday, October 5, 2014

A Fantastic Falcon Day!

A cold front moved in late yesterday morning causing a shift in winds, from light SW to strong NW winds. The front brought with it an amazing amount of falcons!  A grand total of 457 Merlins, which is the second highest record at the Kiptopeke Hawkwatch, the highest being 462 in 1998. Along with the Merlins were 251 Peregrine Falcons, another second highest record, with the first being 364 in 1997! Two days ago, there were 214 Peregrine Falcons, which is also a remarkable number! Keep those raptors coming! 
In other news, Eric Beck, the Bay-watcher for this year started the watch at the beginning of this month. The CVWO bay-watch is in its second year of operation this year. The bay-watch is located on a private piece of land  that oversees the Chesapeake Bay. Unfortunately it is not open to the public, but I will keep you updated on sightings the from the watch.
A gorgeous sunset to end the day yesterday

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Monarch Migration Update

Monarch Butterflies have become more numerous in the skies at the Kiptopeke Hawkwatch. Cole is finding more on his point-counts at the hawkwatch and on vegetation like golden rod, milk weed, and lantana. He has now tagged a total of 141 butterflies. Monarch tagging is done by placing a small sticker on the butterfly's hindwing. Tagging is done to find out more information on Monarch migration through recovery of tagged individuals.
A mantis eating a Monarch Butterfly. Photo taken by Cole Gandee