First Major Hawkflight for 2015!

Sunday, April 12 was a pretty great day at the longshore tower.  The night’s chilly low 40s warmed quickly at dawn and the growing south winds brought 70s for the first time of the flight count this year.  There was a good mix of passerines as well as the first major hawk flight of the season.

Several participants assisted the counter in logging 18,406 birds, comprising 67 species.  After today’s new arrivals, 120 species have now been logged this year.  The new season total is 171,000 birds.  Adding to the new species this morning were Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Bonaparte’s Gull, and Palm Warbler.

Golden Eagle over the hawkwatch today.  Photo courtesy John Kendall.
Golden Eagle over the hawkwatch today. Photo courtesy John Kendall.

For the first major hawk flight of the year, 122 raptors went past the tower site.  The diversity was good, despite not including a single Broad-winged Hawk.  Sharp-shinned and Red-tailed Hawks made up the majority, but the surprise bird was a Golden Eagle, captured on camera flying over the park.  This is the second Golden Eagle recorded this season from the longshore flight zone.

Other highlights included a late push of 291 Sandhill Cranes, 2 Eurasian-collared Doves, 236 Northern Flickers (a season high count),  American White Pelican (see below), and an astounding 1,822 Rusty Blackbirds.

American White Pelican over the longshore tower today.  Photo courtesy John Kendall.
American White Pelican over the longshore tower today. Photo courtesy John Kendall.

Today’s full list follows.  Conditions should provide another flight Monday before winds shift for Tuesday.

Canada Goose 4
Mallard 2
Red-breasted Merganser 3
Common Loon 7
Horned Grebe 1
Double-crested Cormorant 31
American White Pelican 1
Great Blue Heron 6
Great Egret 2
Turkey Vulture 17
Osprey 3
Golden Eagle 1 Juvenile.
Northern Harrier 4
Sharp-shinned Hawk 49
Cooper’s Hawk 2
Bald Eagle 2
Red-shouldered Hawk 2
Red-tailed Hawk 33
Rough-legged Hawk 1
Sandhill Crane 291
Killdeer 4
Bonaparte’s Gull 1
Ring-billed Gull 40
Herring Gull 1
Great Black-backed Gull 3
Caspian Tern 2
Rock Pigeon  12
Eurasian Collared-Dove 2
Mourning Dove 56
Red-headed Woodpecker 1
Red-bellied Woodpecker 1
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker 4
Northern Flicker 236
Pileated Woodpecker 1
American Kestrel 8
Eastern Phoebe 1
Blue Jay 1
American Crow 1
Horned Lark 3
Northern Rough-winged Swallow 6
Tree Swallow 82
Barn Swallow 7
Tufted Titmouse 1
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher 6
Eastern Bluebird 11
American Robin 269
European Starling 7
Lapland Longspur 25
Palm Warbler 2
Yellow-rumped Warbler 40
Eastern Towhee 2
American Tree Sparrow 1
Chipping Sparrow 9
Field Sparrow 1
Song Sparrow 1
Dark-eyed Junco 7
Northern Cardinal 1
Red-winged Blackbird 6464
Eastern Meadowlark 5
Rusty Blackbird 1822
Common Grackle 8390
Brown-headed Cowbird 369
House Finch 1
Purple Finch 16
Pine Siskin 18
American Goldfinch 2
House Sparrow 1

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