Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Crested Caracara

Thanks to Old Dominion University student, Natasha Hagemeyer, here's a photo, in the early morning rain, of the Crested Caracara seen today in Virginia Beach.

Brian Taber

Thursday, November 20, 2014


American Goldfinches have taken over the feeder by the Kiptopeke Hawkwatch Platform. There has been a high count of 32 goldfinches at the feeders and on the ground below. Three Purple Finches decided to join the party today and were seen foraging on the ground alongside the goldfinches.
A busy feeder with 10+ American goldfinch

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Pest Control on the Hawkwatch Platform

Things have been a little slow lately, as the hawkwatch platform has been closed for the past two days due to a deer hunt at Kiptopeke State Park. The count will resume tomorrow with high hopes for a good flight brought on by the cold front moving through tonight.

Throughout the season there has been a variety of insects and birds on the platform, even two resident five-lined skinks and a group of wasps residing in the wooden beams of the roof. Luckily, there has been some predatory species to help control some of the nuisance species.

A five-lined skink eating a marmorated stink bug
A wheel bug preying upon one of the resident wasps. A marmorated stink bug to the left of them.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

4th Golden Eagle for the season

The fourth Golden Eagle for the 2014 hawk watch season at Kiptopeke Hawkwatch was counted today. It was seen flying south and later flying north. A typical behavior of Golden Eagles seen at Kiptopeke, they are very hesitant to fly over the open water.

Waterfowl is becoming more abundant in the skies. 2 Tundra Swans were seen flying past the hawkwatch today and 20 Common Loons yesterday. American Robins and blackbirds have been putting on an amazing morning flight along with smaller flocks of Eastern Bluebirds, American Goldfinch, Pine Siskins, and Purple Finches. Yellow-rumped warblers are dripping from the bushes. 100+ sparrows were foraging around the platform today.
Yellow-rumped Warbler

The hummingbirds have gotten a lot larger these days. A Northern Mockingbird on the
hummingbird feeder by the Kiptopeke Hawkwatch.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Greater White-fronted Goose

This bird, found and photographed by Bill Williams recently near Jamestown, in James City County, is rare in Virginia and a first local record.
Brian Taber

Monday, November 3, 2014

Migration Update

The first three Golden Eagles for the season were spotted this past week, and two Northern Goshawks were counted the week prior. Falcons have become scarce while Northern Harriers, Red-tailed Hawks, Red-Shouldered Hawks have been showing up in larger numbers. Sharp-shinned Hawks and Cooper's Hawks will continue in smaller numbers through November.

American Robins, Eastern Bluebirds, American Pipits, Eastern Meadowlarks, Purple Finches, Pine Siskins, American Goldfinches, and mixed blackbird flocks (Red-winged Blackbirds, Brown-headed Cowbirds, Common Grackle, Rusty Blackbirds) have been filling the skies in the morning.

Waterfowl has started to move through and onto the Eastern Shore of VA. The third flock of Tundra Swans for the season was spotted yesterday along with 60 Canada Geese. Several flocks of 20-40 scoters (Surf Scoter and Black Scoter identified) were seen flying by the platform today. Waterfowl numbers will drastically increase as the month goes on, including large flights of Tundra Swans and Snow Geese visible from the platform.

Monarch Butterflies have become almost non-exist on the Eastern Shore of VA. Very few Monarchs have been seen from the platform in the past week, with only one today. Cole Gandee, the Monarch Biologist for the season has finished up his duties for the season with 486 Monarchs tagged.

Two Red-tailed Hawks passing each other.