First 10,000 Bird Day of 2014

Ok, it was an alright day, but not enough that the prophetic “It was a great day…” that was predicted yesterday could be exclaimed today.  The longshore flight for March 18 began chilly again, with a strong and stiff southeast wind.  It took quite some time today before the warming temperatures were noticed.  But eventually, 50 degrees was reached late in the day.

Screen shot from Red-shouldered Hawk video showing crescent windows.  3/18/14
Screen shot from Red-shouldered Hawk video showing crescent windows. 3/18/14

As predicted blackbirds posted their first good count of the season, and Robins also posted their highest count thus far.  But surprisingly the waterfowl and afternoon crane show was all but absent.  These species are clearly a week behind schedule and we’re stuck in the arctic north waiting for them.  For the day, 10,750 birds, comprising 38 species went logged this morning.  46 birds of prey would signal the start of the season’s hawkwatch.  You know it’s hawkwatch time when Ken Brock shows up at the tower.  Or as Ken tells it, you know there will be no hawks flying when Ken is around!  But, the 46 did move, a nice early sign of more to come.  Red-shouldered Hawks and Sharp-shinned Hawks made up the majority of them today.  The Red-shouldered Hawks had good lighting to expose the crescent light windows in their outer wing.  Ken had just mentioned this to the Birding the Dunes Workshop group last week and it was good to see it being used in practice today.  A short video was also captured, which is embedded below.

Today’s highlights are below.  Today’s volunteers and observers included Ken Brock, Kimberly Ehn, John DeVaney, and Brad Bumgardner.

Gadwall 4
Red-throated Loon 1
Turkey Vulture 10
Sharp-shinned Hawk 9
Red-shouldered Hawk 13
Rough-legged Hawk 2
Sandhill Crane 101
Ring-billed Gull 1060
Glaucous Gull 1 adult
Pileated Woodpecker 1
American Kestrel 5
Eastern Bluebird 21
American Robin 377
Lapland Longspur 32
Snow Bunting 2
Red-winged Blackbird 7573
Common Grackle 692


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