Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Hawk Watch

Yesterday I spent the morning over at the CMBO's hawk watch, which officially started this weekend. Relatively few raptors were moving. The most numerous migrants were kestrels and sharp-shinned hawks. A single Cooper's hawk appeared far away. A few osprey were headed south, in addition to the local ones. A third-year bald eagle made its way around the point from the bay side to the ocean side. More dramatic was a merlin that appeared near eye level from behind the platform and dove after the flocks of shorebirds in the pond. (It missed, several times.)

Raptor appearances, however, were few and far between, so most of the people on the platform spent more time looking at the pond than at the sky. (The one exception, of course, was the official counter.) There were many herons, mostly great and snowy egrets. The more common ones were joined by immature little blue herons, glossy ibises, and a tricolored heron. A sandbar held a large flock of terns, including about 30 black skimmers, many Forster's terns, and several black terns. A lot of shorebirds were present as well. I noted great and lesser yellowlegs and a lot of peeps that were too distant for me. One person called out a white-rumped sandpiper, but I did not get an identifiable look at it.

My job is about to get a lot busier, so I am not sure how much more time I can spend birding – at the hawk watch or otherwise. When I do, I will post it here.