[va-bird] (no subject)

  • From: Jethrorunco@xxxxxxx
  • To: va-bird@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Thu, 20 Oct 2005 21:14:20 EDT

Greetings from the Eastern Shore. In case any of you were wondering, the 
raptor banding at Kiptopeke State Park is alive and well. As of this afternoon, 
we've trapped 415 raptors of 7 species. The season average is just under 11 
hawks per trapping day. Totals are at the end of the message. 
We're supposedly beyond the peak for the season, yet the raptors are making a 
strong showing. This recent spell of high pressure and westerly winds has 
been a boon to the trapping totals. Especially since it followed a rainy, 
period that kept large numbers of hawks to our north. All of these birds 
showed up and didn't want to head over the water so have been lingering and 
feeding on the abundant songbirds and swallows. We've seen many an accipiter 
engorged crops. Monday and Tuesday of next week look promising for decent 
flights, so come on out to the park if you get the chance.
 For the period 15-20 October, we banded 105 raptors. Highlights include: an 
adult male Merlin (first one banded at the park in several years and my 
personal favorite) on the 15th; a fierce adult male Cooper's hawk on the 17th 
convinced this bird is what robins have nightmares about); an adult male 
Peregrine (tundra bird) on the 18th, which is a very uncommon capture - 
gorgeous and brought the adult peregrine total to 3; and an adult male Northern 
harrier today - words can't express how dapper he was. 
We're starting to catch and see many more adults on the shore, which makes 
for exciting days. Today was spectacular, as the weather went from stagnant and 
hazy with light southerly winds to cloudy and cool with moderate NE winds. The 
shift in birds was dramatic and things started moving as soon as the weather 
changed. We saw an impressive flight of Merlins, which is odd for this late in 
the season. The little marauders were wreaking havoc on the poor swallows and 
yellow-rumps. But what fun to watch. Accipiters came on strong, as well. Ol' 
Sam had his hands full on the platform and recorded his first 1000+ day for 
fall 2005. Sometimes you never can tell how a day will shape up in the morning. 
Our fingers are crossed for several more solid accipiter flights since they 
seem to be a bit late this year. And Merlins...when will they stop coming? 
not complaining, though. 

Totals as of 20 October:

N. harrier - 6
Sharp-shinned hawk - 72 (very low)
Cooper's hawk - 98 (again, very low)
Red-tailed hawk - 11
American kestrel - 53 
Merlin - 153
Peregrine - 21 (includes 3 adults)

Total: 415

Best to all, 

Zach Smith, Official CVWO Hawk wrangler

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