Monday, August 27, 2012

Hawks Landing... almost

The weather has turned beautiful in Connecticut with highs at or a little above 80F but the real story is the low humidity (at least by our standards).  It's taken away any excuses to not spend break times outside enjoying West Campus, avoiding the construction workers and shuttle buses.  With Sue being on break I felt I needed to step up and get a good species count in for the week since it was on my shoulders alone. 

So I sat in our courtyard at breaks and tried to be outside during lunchtime too, in an effort to spot any birds pushing through while migrating south.  Not everyone is migrating though, the American Goldfinch above is likely still in the process of raising young and I believe their nest is in the pine next to this one. 

The hawks however did make a little push last week, and I was able to enjoy some great views of a Red-shouldered Hawk sitting in a tree about 50 yards away (no camera at the time).  I spooked it enough that it finally took off showing the crescent-shaped windows in the wing used to identify it.  Also, two early Broad-winged Hawks took a look around campus.  They flew in low enough that I was able to get a couple of ok images. 

The diagnostic feature of these small Buteos is the dark wing tips and black trailing edge of the wing.  When this genus of hawk is flying higher in the sky you have to use wing-shape and tail length to help distinguish them also.  One lunchtime push of 'raptors' included 5 migrating Osprey, 4 migrating Red-tailed Hawks, the Red-shouldered Hawk, and one lone Sharp-shinned Hawk.  With the potential for some northerly winds tomorrow afternoon into Wednesday, I'll be keeping my eyes to the skies.  

Species total this week was spectacular,  38 in total. 
*migrants (species at this point is probably only migrating through),
#residents(spends summers [babies dispersed or in identical plummage] or winters here),
^residents with young (birds who have spent the summer here nesting)

American Robin^
Mourning Dove^
House Sparrow^
Song Sparrow^
American Goldfinch^ (probably the only species with young still in nests)
European Starling^
Common Grackle*
House Finch*, #
Northern Cardinal^
Gray Catbird^
Barn Swallow*
Herring Gull# (winter residents)
Cedar Waxwings*, ^
Blue Jay#
Northern Flicker#
Chipping Sparrow^
Turkey Vulture#
Black-capped Chickadee#, *
Northern Mockingbird^
Brown-headed Cowbird (young beng raised by Song Sparrows)^
Downy Woodpecker#
Canada Goose# (winter residents)
Rock Pigeon#
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher*
Empidonax sp. (flycatcher)*
Red-winged Blackbird*
Yellow Warbler*
Tree Swallow*
Chimney Swift*
Fish Crow#
Baltimore Oriole*
Black-and-White Warbler*
Red-tailed Hawk-4 (plus our two locals)*, #
Sharp-shinned Hawk-1*
Red-shouldered Hawk-2*
Broad-winged Hawk-2*

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