If you read my last post, you saw how I was pouting about the hawk week being slow. Weather issues had worked against us, and I found myself more or less saddened by it all. To make myself (and my child-like emotions) feel better, I found a cooperative Great Blue Heron at Elizabeth Park.
Anyhow, Sunday was a different day.....
Hawkwatching is usually enjoyable no matter what. When the birds are flying? All the better!
By 2:00pm (or so), things were really looking impressive. Slowly but surely, the masses started building and by day's end, we had enjoyed over 30,000 Broad-winged Hawks. How cool is that?
My pictures don't do this justice. Check out this video taken in Costa Rica. NOW you get the idea. Hypnotizing, eh?
At times later in the afternoon, birds were literally 150 feet overhead. Trust me. I have seen my share of Broad-winged flights, and that just doesn't happen very often. Sadly, it was happening because clouds rolled in and thermal generation ( a very important part of their migration strategy) died. They were struggling for lift and coming in low. The clouds, of course, wrecked the lighting so I did the best I could. I managed one fair shot of a single bird during an opportune moment.
An assortment of other birds moved along that day, as well. One Sharp-shinned Hawk came close and I was able to bag it. (I know what some of you might be thinking "But it has a round tip on the tail! so it is a Cooper's Hawk!" Yes it does. So what. This proves EXACTLY why that field mark is not always reliable. Sharp-shinned Hawk. Trust me.)
All in all, one can't complain. Good birds. Good company. Only one thing could made the day better.
With the Fan Club Party at the Fort Street Brewery handing out all the food you can eat with tons of free beer, it was great way to cap off a great day.
Birds. Beer. Best friends (Nat and Don where there). That is how it should be!