Happy Halloween from the Kiptopeke Hawkwatch! We have been enjoying the relatively good flights of Northern Harriers over the past week on days with low numbers of other migrating raptors. On the hawkwatch platform, we have had good views of several adult male Northern Harriers, which are sometimes referred to as “Gray Ghosts.” Adult male Northern Harriers are gray overall and have wings with whitish undersides and black wingtips. A Gray Ghost is always a wonderful sight as it flies over the hawkwatch platform.
|A "Gray Ghost," an adult male Northern Harrier. Photo by Steve Thornhill.|
Juvenile Northern Harriers are also beautiful birds to see fly over the hawkwatch platform. Juvenile Northern Harriers are brown overall and appear to be a pumpkin color from below.
|A juvenile Northern Harrier. Photo by Anna Stunkel.|
After counting raptors on October 27th , we volunteered at the KiptoShriek Halloween event that took place at Kiptopeke State Park. Anna was a Turkey Vulture, and Katie was a Common Raven. Long-time Kiptopeke Hawkwatch volunteer, Joe, also volunteered at KiptoShriek. Clay, CVWO's Monarch Butterfly Biologist, volunteered at the event dressed as “Doctor Plexippus.”
|Katie as a Common Raven and Anna as a Turkey Vulture at KiptoShriek. Photo by Joe Beatty.|
|Clay, CVWO's Monarch Biologist, as "Doctor Plexippus" at KiptoShriek. Photo by Clay Buffkin.|
Although we have had days in the past week with fewer than fifty migrating raptors, interesting birds continue to be seen from the hawkwatch platform. Sadly, we were not able to get pictures of these birds, but they are still worth mentioning. Four American Golden-Plovers flew past the platform on October 24th. A group of approximately twelve American White Pelicans was seen flying over the Chesapeake Bay on October 27th. On the same day, a leucistic White-throated Sparrow with abnormal white feathers on its head was seen under the trees next to the hawkwatch platform. One Cave Swallow was spotted flying with Tree Swallows passing over the hawkwatch platform on October 28th.
Even though we can't always get a picture of birds seen from the platform, the Northern Mockingbird that sings from the trees next to the hawkwatch platform is often available to pose for a few pictures.
|Northern Mockingbird singing next to the hawkwatch platform. Photo by Steve Thornhill.|