HawkArtScience: Hawksaloft.com blog

30 October 2018

The Fall 2018 hawk migration (Broadwings) was a miss for most. I’ll talk about that and look at a few NEXRADs. An early Red-tailed Hawk movement will be looked at. In other real bird flights, we have a Spring report from 2018 to take you through the Winter. Plus In Other News.

“If we do not permit the earth to produce beauty and joy, it will in the end not produce food, either."
  — Joseph Wood Krutch, naturalist and writer (1893-1970)

Hawks on NEXRAD
The Fall 2018 BW flight in the NE was a bit of a non-event. Of course, the birds went through, but more toward western New England as the birds arced to the N and W. Secondary later push created a flightline that showed on radar over W MA/CT. This fightline also showed as strong movement right along the CT shoreline, viewed over the Fairfield and Westchester County sites.
First we have NEXRAD from W PA showing three nice lines of hawks on 16 September. The hawkwatch in the center of this capture likely had one of these lines (this one line idea comes from my looking at counts/site where there were multiple lines in the area).

Here’s a “rain” of hawks coming through W MA/CT on 23 September. Also we see a heavy stream along the CT into NY line. As I have noted before, birds including hawks cross from CT onto Long Island using the shortest water crossing E of New Haven. Fairfield and Westchester hawk counts had nice secondary push counts on this day. [see Bonus NEXRAD for animation below]

On 26 September, Duluth has a 10K+ flight (smallish, secondary count): strong shoreline movement.

Cape May had a big and late BW movement on 13 October 2018. Here we see birds coming down the inner bayside, then a blob crossing Deleware Bay mouth. The dark blue on the SW, outer, bayside doesn't go down from there toward Kiptopeke, so we can assume the Cape May hawks are now heading N. From Baltimore, they will change direction again to head SW.

Here’s a “rain” of hawks coming through W MA/CT on 23 September. Also we see a heavy stream along the CT into NY line. As I have noted before, birds including hawks cross from CT onto Long Island using the shortest water crossing E of New Haven. Fairfield and Westchester hawk counts had nice secondary push counts on this day.

Real Birds…

On 5 Oct 2018, I was out at our Fall site. Bishop Road is just inland along the eastern Lake Ontario shoreline. On NE winds only, hawks and other migrants approach the shore and concentrate as they negotiate the corner of the lake:

On NNE to NE winds with temperatures in the low 50s. Big TV flight early, then vultures throughout the day.
Big RT movement with a nice number of Florida Bald Eagles and other species. No Ospreys or Peregrines.
Total: 1144 4.25 hours

TV 830
BE  44
NH   5
SS   9
CH  18
RS   5
BW   8
RT 209
AK  15
ML   1

First we see a nice TV migration, a hair ahead of the big Detroit numbers. The Bald Eagles are still Florida birds at this date. Satellite tracking on juvenile northern population birds shows they don’t get started S until mid-November. Also I was able to observe the upper wing coverts on some birds and noted a bit of wear from early 2018 hatchings. 

Here’s an adult from showing unusual molt. Distant wing looks to have S11 as a juvenile secondary, with a probable missing s10. S4 is typically last wing feather to be dropped. 


Here’s a Bishop Road Broadwing showing a nice bellyband.
[9 September 2018, also on best conditions for this site: NE winds]

Now the 200 plus Redtails. There are some hawkwatch sites that don’t count this species on this date, or don’t see this volume this early. They are on the move in pretty good numbers early in October! Maybe they are on a flightline with few or no sites in their path.
This second year bird has an adult tail-type with some wing molt from the Summer. Note the long and short length feathers along the trailing edge. Also there are Redtail “windows” in the outer primaries indicating color fade/wear. Following this RT, we have a young Red-shoulder.

Observatoire d'oiseaux de Tadoussac, north of Quebec City gets some nice migration numbers. I became aware when they has a hundred plus Roughlegs in late Spring one year. This hawk food report from late May 2018 is amazing. Here’s an article summarizing the flight and the numbers. The eBird report has lots of photos that everyone will want to check out.

In Other News...

Wildlife trafficking has been in the news (not counting the Trump boys).
Prince William Urges Tougher Punishment for Poachers and Wildlife Smugglers
And the conservation problem of white saviors...

Canadian Edward Burtynsky’s images show ‘the indelible marks left by humankind on the geological face of our planet’.

And for the Edward Abbey fans:



Tom Carrolan  
Liverpool NY
"NO. Ladies never get their own egg rolls...
Ladies don’t even get their own ideas." 
 — Lorelai Gilmore, The Gilmore Girls… 
   in jest talking about cotillions

They've got the urge for going, and
they've got the wings so they can go.

— Joni Mitchell

Hawk•art•science blog
Truth and beauty. Art and science. Entries here will be on that flightline, although I will stray from the hawk-part on occasion, or will I? I aiming this beast at hawkheads and/or the young seasonal revolutionary biologists. It's for the flexible and young-at-heart too.
Comments, questions, excited utterances, and/or exasperated afterthoughts from you, dear reader, are welcome and will receive a reply. — Tom Carrolan
(Image above: "Recent self-portrait No.3, 2009")

Original recipe Hawksaloft.com
The Hawksaloft.com website was launched in 1997, following three years of printed handbills, plus numerous emails, all voicing my alt.hawkwatching ideas in New England. If you've been here before, the original site is archived in all its old-timey graphic glory. To navigate the old way, just click on Psychedelia the Hawk Owl and be transported back in time... trippy. Any bookmarks or links found anywhere online still work.

Not everything that counts can be counted and
not everything that can be counted counts.

— Albert Einstein