More Flicker Madness

Saturday, April 12 was the spring day offered up to dunelanders in exchange for all the cold and dreary spring days that had been delivered thus far.  With a light breeze at dawn, and warm temperatures, it was a day where just about anything could pass by.By the end of the day, it was a steamy 77 degrees and the winds were now powerful southerly gales.  It was a good day to log 76 bird species, from all over the tower site.

Sunshine over Mt. Tom.
Sunshine over Mt. Tom.  The tower panoramic this morning.

Magnitude!  Again, that’s the spectacular observation one gets here.  You don’t need to visit the Bird Observation Platform to see your first gnatcatcher or Cliff Swallow of the year.  But you come here so that you can see 98 gnatcatchers or 101 Cliff Swallows.  Today’s magnitude began three days ago when Flickers started building.  First 162 were witnessed Thursday, then 180 yesterday.  Today’s observers watched a massive 649 individual Northern Flickers undulated past the tower.  It’s a new second highest state count, behind the 1300+ seen at the same site in 2010.  We’re now over 1,100 flickers for the spring.  Other magnitudes worth mentioning were 205 Long-tailed Ducks (now over 1,500 for the year!), 233 Mourning Doves (including a Eurasian Collared-Dove) and a grand slam of all expected swallow species.

Blackbirds and grackles posted a great flight today.  The squeeky door sounds of Rusty Blackbirds also posted a good 761 birds.  New arrivals today included the first Broad-winged Hawk, American Golden Plovers, Eurasian Collared-Dove, Bank and Cliff Swallows, and first White-throated Sparrows.  The new arrivals would push the daily count to 76 species.

A simple Sharpie Silhouette.  April 12, 2014.
A simple Sharpie Silhouette. April 12, 2014.

Wind gusts picked up considerably by late morning and under strong 25-30 knot winds, hawks picked up.  Both Sharpies and Red-tailed Hawks posted good numbers.  Adding to the total was a lone Bald Eagle, two Osprey, and five Merlin.  The hawkwatch logged over 100 raptors today.

Today’s highlights of 17,448 birds are below.  The counter was assisted by Kim Ehn, Penny and Jim Starin,  John DeVaney, Brad Bumgardner,  and John Kendall.  Ken Brock’s regular birding tour provided a brief birding moral support stop.

American Wigeon 1
American Black Duck 2
White-winged Scoter 1
Long-tailed Duck 205
Red-throated Loon 10
Common Loon 16
Osprey 2
Sharp-shinned Hawk 37
Broad-winged Hawk 1
Red-tailed Hawk 23
Rough-legged Hawk 1
Sandhill Crane 302
American Golden-Plover 25
Eurasian Collared-Dove 1
Mourning Dove 233
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker 1
Northern Flicker 649
American Kestrel 15
Merlin 5
Northern Rough-winged Swallow 5
Purple Martin 4
Tree Swallow 279
Bank Swallow 1
Barn Swallow 7
Cliff Swallow 3
American Pipit 1
Lapland Longspur 196
Yellow-rumped Warbler 23
White-throated Sparrow 1
Red-winged Blackbird 8819
Rusty Blackbird 761
Common Grackle 4625
Purple Finch 8



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