Wednesday, October 24, 2018

White birds, Gold birds, Purple birds

October 20th was a rainy dreary day. While Anna is often happy to endure some rain to watch for birds, even she sometimes decides it's just too rainy for raptors. 6 Merlins, 1 Bald Eagle and 1 Northern Harrier snuck south before the rain began.

Birds zoomed by on October 21st due to strong winds that persisted throughout the day. Raptors often flew low enough for good looks if your binoculars moved fast enough and you weren't fighting the wind to keep your balance. There was an especially amazing flight of lightning fast Merlins that zipped past in the late afternoon. We were also treated to another Golden Eagle sighting, again far away to the east. We observed a Bald Eagle harassing an Osprey for their fish for the second time this season. The Bald Eagle was successful again. Different predation strategies colliding in mid-air!

Merlin with a bug (Julia Magill)

October 22nd was a great day for Red-tail Hawks. Anna's count of 39 was a new season record. There was some excitement when 16 American White Pelicans flew north rather far to the east. We were just getting over not having a better look when another group of 18 flew over much closer and almost directly above the platform!

American White Pelicans (Julia Magill)

4 very energetic Chimney Swifts gave us quite the show on Monday when they flew close to the platform repeatedly for hours. We'd never seen Chimney Swifts come right in front of the platform like that. They were fun to watch and a challenge to capture with our cameras.

Chimney Swifts (Julia Magill)

There was a nice morning flight of Northern Harriers and Bald Eagles on October 24th. We also had two good looks at close Peregrine Falcons later in the day. Anna has been hearing Purple Finches flying overhead for the past week and a half, and today we got to see them close up when a few landed in the nearby cherry tree. There have also been many Eastern Phoebes hanging around Kiptopeke and the surrounding areas. They're fun to watch as they flutter around catching bugs!

Female and male Purple Finches (Julia Magill)

Eastern Phoebe eating a bug (Julia Magill)

Today's subadult Golden Eagle flew nice and close. The first sighting ended with it flying north, then 15 minutes later it returned with some Turkey Vultures and continued south. It's a good idea to give a good look to every bird within a group of Turkey Vultures around this time. Red-shouldered Hawks are picking up, with 5 on the 22nd and 3 today. Another highlight of the day were the large flocks of Tree Swallows dancing over the bay.

Golden Eagle (Julia Magill)

Tree Swallows (Julia Magill)