We had a respectable flight at Mount Peter Hawkwatch today, with a total of 470 migrating raptors. It’s the time of year when Broad-winged Hawks are moving in huge numbers, so while I enjoyed my biggest day of counting in years, Mt. Pete still needs a couple of big days before the Broad-winged Hawk migration is over.
I was lucky enough to have some help up on the mountian today. Fellow counter Tom Millard, Kyle Knapp, Bruce Christiansen, and Bob & Linda Pasak all spent considerable time at the watch, lending the extra eyes. Highlights included 421 Broad-winged Hawks, 7 Bald Eagles, and 3 Ospreys. We enjoyed one triple digit kettle of BWHAs, with a total of 103 birds. See my report at the bottom of this post for more details on the day.
My first bird of the weekend was a new yard bird for me – Common Raven. It was just after sunrise on Saturday morning and the bird landed on one of the evergreens in the backyard and was calling repeatedly. I grabbed my camera and the sun was just barely over the trees and casting the bird in warm light as I snapped some shots. The bird was species number 55 in my yard for 2022; I thought that was a nice way to start the weekend’s birding.
I was the official counter at Mount Peter Hawkwatch on Saturday. I got out early and birded the black dirt for a little while before heading up to the mountain. I was rewarded with a couple of BUFF-BREASTED SANDPIPERS. There were also hundreds (thousands?) of Tree Swallows around. When I saw them, in a few separate fields, they were on the ground and periodically picking up and taking flight. It was the most Tree Swallows I’ve ever seen.
Tree Swallows would prove to be the theme of the day; when I got to Mount Peter there were just loads of them migrating through. Again, I witness hundreds and hundreds of Tree Swallows as I searched the skies for migrating raptors.
The raptor flight was weak, and I only had 14 migrating birds for the day. I did count another Osprey (always cool to see in migration), and I counted my first migrating Bald Eagle of the year. For more details, see my report for the day at the bottom of this post.
This morning I birded the Black Dirt Region again – I was able to locate three Buff-breasted Sandpipers, but no other shorebirds (other than the expected loads of Killdeer). I’m coming across loads of American Kestrels in the black dirt recently; I saw ten just this morning.
It’s hard to believe it’s Labor Day already; this summer flew by for me. But, that means that Hawkwatch Season is upon us. I spent Saturday morning up at Mount Peter helping the Mt. Pete crew clean up the area. We cleaned up trash, cleared up some of the trails, and cut back any small saplings which would grow up to eventually block our view. Word has it that the DEC has finally agreed to remove some trees to help provide better viewing, but we won’t enjoy that until the 2023 season. On Sunday I was the official counter. As we should expect this early in the season, it was slow. I had a total of 14 migrating raptors, you can see my report below.
Shorebirds remain my main focus, however. Early in the week there was a BUFF-BREASTED SANDPIPER located at Skinner’s Lane (apologies, I can’t remember the original locator). I caught up with that bird a couple of times; unfortunately it was waaaay out there and photos weren’t even an option. I also had a couple more American Golden-plover sitings in the black dirt this week. Conditions at the Goshen Park and Ride continue to be good, and there has been a small but diverse group of birds present (Semipalmated Plover, Killdeer, Least Sandpiper, Semipalmated Sandpiper, both Yellowlegs, and Solitary Sandpiper). The most exciting bird this weekend was a STILT SANDPIPER found by Kyle Knapp on Sunday. I was able to catch up with that bird after hawkwatch, I had good scope views, but photos were tough.
This morning Kathy Ashman found a Glossy Ibis at 6 1/2 Station Road Sanctuary. I ran for the bird; it’s always cool to see a GLIB, but I was also hoping to find some interesting shorebirds. Unfortunately, that was not the case and I was only able to locate Least Sandpipers and Killdeer.
And finally, my yard list is starting to pick up. I added three birds this week – A Red-breasted Nuthatch, a Pileated Woodpecker, and I had several Common Nighthawks flyover last Sunday evening. My yard list total is now up to 53 species.