Saturday, October 6, 2018

10,000th Raptor

The CVWO staff and our platform visitors are still enjoying the peak of fall raptor migration.

October 3rd started off slow and with a clear blue sky. It wasn't until the afternoon that a few clouds and great number of raptors rolled in. It was an amazing day for American Kestrels in particular. 305 of them flew by, which accounted for a large portion of the 796 total raptor count of the day.

American Kestrel on a post close to the platform (Julia Magill)

We were also treated to a good look at a brilliant adult male Northern Harrier, AKA a "gray ghost". Adult female and immature Northern Harriers are brown-backed (Immatures can be distinguished by their rich orange chests with less streaking), so gray ghosts are less frequently seen.

Adult male Northern Harrier (Julia Magill)

As of October 4th Anna has counted over 10,000 migrating raptors so far this season! Lucky number 10,000 was determined to be a Cooper's hawk. There were many low flying birds that day, and we were so glad to have many visitors enjoying the views with us.

Juvenile Cooper's Hawk (Julia Magill)

Visitors to the HawkWatch enjoying the raptors (Julia Magill)

October 5th was a great day for Peregrine Falcons, Cooper's Hawks, and Ospreys. 121 Peregrines passed over, many of which flew low and wowed the crowd. The majority of Peregrines we have observed this season have been adults, which is interesting considering about 90% of the other migrating raptors that pass through Kiptopeke are juveniles.

Adult Peregrine Falcon (Julia Magill)