Friday, September 10, 2010

Friday September 10th "Hawk migration"

Today, we had our first flight of hawks of the season. As the skies began to clear mid-morning, large kettles of Broad-winged Hawks began to appear to the NE. The moderate N-NW winds pushed them away from the Morgan Arboretum and the MBO towards the Lac St. Louis lakeshore, and we ended up alongside Highway 20, near Woodland Avenue. Happily, Chris (Murphy) and Gay (McDougall-Gruner) were able to join us in the afternoon. Hawks were moving all day, right up until 5.00 p.m. The largest 1h total of Broadwings, 1532, was recorded between noon and 1.00 pm. EDT, with many of the kettles seen in the 150 plus range. The daily total was 2413, including many immatures, one of our highest one-day totals of
recent times. In addition to Broadwings, we had 64 Sharp-shinned Hawks, 22 Kestrels and 11 eagles (10 Bald and 1 Golden), plus a few Ospreys and Red-tailed hawks.

In all, the total reached 2528 hawks. One of the Broadwings was a dark-phase bird, the first we have seen in many, many years. Nearly all of the hawks were nicely silhouetted against clouds, making spotting the higher ones much easier than it might otherwise have been. Besides the hawks we counted 43 migrating Monarch Butterflies.

If the sunny weather and N wind holds, tomorrow should bring a follow-up flight. Unfortunately, it is unlikely to be as good as today's. Nonetheless, if you're out, keep looking "up". You just never know. - Cheers, Bob.

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