Tuesday, September 21, 2010

A day at the Boothe Park Hawk Watch

Here is an account of a hawk watching day at Boothe Park in Stratford. The following data and information is from yesterday, September 20. This ended up being a remarkable day because of the late afternoon. It shows how much very specific weather conditions impact every single part of diurnal migration.

Start Time
End Time
Frank Mantlik, Scott Kruitbosch
ObserversCharlie Barnard, Frank Mantlik, John Marshall
WeatherA weak cold front passed through last night. As it approached Hurricane Igor and Igor approached us the pressure gradient increased our winds early today, making for variable 8-12MPH winds with higher gusts for the duration of the day. Mixing was not enough to create any clouds. A totally blue sky was the constant problem. Temperatures went from the mid 60s to mid 70s in very dry air.
Observation NotesFor such a great flow on a wonderful calendar day it was ridiculously and frustratingly very quiet from 8 through when I left at 12, and this continued until 1:30. Despite other nearby watches, like Lighthouse Point, getting hundreds of raptors before 10AM we had next to nothing. When I returned at 2:15 things slowly improved. This culminated in the best hour ever recorded during the short time we've been at the site from 3-4 when all the Broads finally descended to visible levels/came over our area. Specifically, 3:30-3:45 had probably about 500 raptors. I was alone and likely missed a lot. After a lull from 4-4:30 things picked back up again through about 5:15.
Non-Raptor NotesNotable residents included 1 COMMON RAVEN attacking a Bald Eagle over the river and 3 BLACK VULTURE. Migrants included 2 BLUE-WINGED TEAL, 1 LINCOLN'S SPARROW, 1 Palm Warbler, 1 Yellow-rumped Warbler, 1 Magnolia Warbler, 12 Chimney Swift, 18 Cedar Waxwing, 1 Eastern Wood-Pewee, 1 Eastern Phoebe, 1 Ruby-throated Hummingbird, 1 House Wren, 1 Gray Catbird.

The "I" in the above piece is me. I sure needed some help late yesterday! Once again, let us hope that the Boothe Park hawk watch is under ideal conditions behind a cold front Saturday for the Great Stratford Bird Festival.

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