Friday, October 23, 2009

Sanibel Lighthouse Hawk Watch

Had been looking forward to the Audubon of Southwest Florida's Sanibel Lighthouse Hawk Watch for some time. Because of work I missed last year's event, but showed up the very next day to take a try on my own. Luckily I ran into Vince McGrath who had lead the prior day's hawk watch. This one-on-one was a great learning experience for me. We had well over 100 American Kestrels, a few Merlins, Peregrins and Ospreys. had a number of Sharp-Shinned Hawks and many Swallows. I think we even had a Bald Eagle.

My list for October 13, 2008 -Brown Pelican, Double-crested Cormorant, Snowy Egret, Black Vulture, Osprey, Bald Eagle, Sharp-shinned Hawk, American Kestrel, Merlin, Peregrine Falcon, Black-bellied Plover, Willet, Ruddy Turnstone, Laughing Gull, Royal Tern, Sandwich Tern, Tree Swallow, Northern Rough-winged Swallow, Barn Swallow, Palm Warbler, Brown-headed Cowbird

So this year, we had a very nice cold front arriving right on time for this years scheduled hawk watch on Sunday October 18th, 8am - 10am. My debate was to show-up for the scheduled event or come on my own the following like last year due to the fact that I was getting off of work at 7:00am Sunday morning. Because of the potential bird fallout from the cold front was such a great opportunity I elected to struggle with my constant bane of sleep derivation and headed over to Sanibel Island on Sunday straight from work. The weather was very windy and chilly by Florida standards. But those strong winds had actually blown the birds away from southwestern Florida. Turns out Miami and Key West had outstanding birding that Sunday. So our birding was very slow. Very few song birds were on hand. Our first hwak arrived at 9:45am - a Sharp-Shined Hawk. By the time I left at 11am we had about 16 American Kestels, a dozen Sharp-Shinned Hawks, a couple of Broad-Winged Hawks and a few Ospreys were present. Also had about 6 Merlins with one individual we found very entertaining as it was aggressivelly interacting with another Merlin and the other hawks present. Prehaps those birders still on hand managed an outstanding sighting like a mississippi kite or something like that. You just never now when something exciting might show up. But not for me. It was time for some sleep for me.

My list - Brown Pelican, Osprey, Sharp-shinned Hawk, Red-shouldered Hawk, Broad-winged Hawk, American Kestrel, Merlin, Short-billed Dowitcher, Laughing Gull, Royal Tern, Sandwich Tern, Rock Pigeon, Chimney Swift, Northern Rough-winged Swallow, Barn Swallow, Prairie Warbler, Palm Warbler, Northern Cardinal, Boat-tailed Grackle

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