Thursday, November 15, 2018

Rarity Roundup and Finches Galore!

November has been off to a great start here at the Kiptopeke hawkwatch platform. At the beginning of the month, we enjoyed several days with good Red-tailed Hawk, Red-shouldered Hawk, and accipiter flights, including 436 raptors on November 4th and 395 raptors on November 8th. It has been interesting to notice several sightings of Ospreys carrying needlefish this season.

Osprey with needlefish by Anna Stunkel

The first Tundra Swans of the season were seen on November 3rd, and we have been enjoying large flights of them since that time. The busiest Tundra Swan flight so far occurred on November 13th, with 264 birds seen. Their beautiful calls are always a joy to hear.

Tundra Swan flock by Anna Stunkel

True to the 2018 Finch Forecast predictions, we have been fortunate to see large numbers of American Goldfinches, Pine Siskins, and some Purple Finches lately. Yesterday, the mixed sunflower seed and nyjer seed feeders were covered in goldfinches.

finch feeding frenzy at the feeders by Anna Stunkel
The annual Rarity Roundup was held on November 10th. During this event, teams of birders cover local areas on the Eastern Shore in search of uncommon and rare bird species. This year was a great success, with a nice turnout of participants. From the platform on that day, the first Sandhill Crane of the season was seen and heard calling. A juvenile Golden Eagle also passed, and was observed by several visitors. Thanks to all who joined in and visited the hawkwatch!

As November continues, we expect to see some more Golden Eagles and hopefully a Northern Goshawk or two. Although the raptor flight tends to slow down during this month, it is an excellent time to observe both raptor and non-raptor species diversity. We hope to see you on the platform soon!