Date: 4/16/17 7:03 pm
From: <reports...>
Subject: [MASSBIRD] Plum Island MA (16 Apr 2017) 202 Raptors
Plum Island MA
Newburyport, Massachusetts, USA
Daily Raptor Counts: Apr 16, 2017

Species Day's Count Month Total Season Total
------------------ ----------- -------------- --------------
Black Vulture 0 0 0
Turkey Vulture 0 85 107
Osprey 1 24 26
Bald Eagle 0 3 4
Northern Harrier 3 86 95
Sharp-shinned Hawk 6 10 10
Cooper's Hawk 0 5 5
Northern Goshawk 0 0 0
Red-shouldered Hawk 0 0 0
Broad-winged Hawk 0 0 0
Red-tailed Hawk 0 10 15
Rough-legged Hawk 0 3 3
Golden Eagle 0 0 0
American Kestrel 179 384 385
Merlin 13 23 25
Peregrine Falcon 0 5 5
Unknown Accipiter 0 0 0
Unknown Buteo 0 0 0
Unknown Falcon 0 1 1
Unknown Eagle 0 0 0
Unknown Raptor 0 4 4

Total: 202 643 685

Observation start time: 07:00:00
Observation end time: 17:00:00
Total observation time: 10 hours

Official Counter: Mark Schoene, Paul M. Roberts

Observers: Bob Secatore, David Goodine, Geoff Wood, Judd Nathan,
Kathryn Chihowski, Maryellen Stone, Ursula Goodine

Observers who helped with the count included Bob Stone and Betsy Kernan
(good to see you back!). With the parking lot jammed, many visitors stopped
to ask what we were looking at, including George, Mike, Iris, and many
others who were very interested to learn more about kestrels.

Instant Summer. A warm front poured instant summer over the region, with
temps on the BEACH rising to 87 degrees F! The W/SW winds were in the 20-30
mph range all day, preventing development of a sea breeze and unleashing a
flood of beach goers, most of whom did not notice the kestrels rocketing
over their heads. The most swim suits seen since Labor Day, but none of
them were wet. Oceans temps still in the high 40s F.

Raptor Observations:
Our best falcon day of the year so far, with 179 kestrels and 13 Merlins;
season's highs for both. Many kestrels were moving unusually fast and at
times rather high considering how strong the winds were. There was
relatively little feeding compared to the past week. For much of the past
week we have had favorable weather but disappointing totals. That was
particularly the case Saturday, and this morning started with birds
dribbling through. Then the numbers jumped dramatically beginning 1 p.m.
EDT. Data from elsewhere in the northeast suggests there were just not many
of "our species" in the area, but they began flowing in this afternoon.

We were not able to ID the gender of many kestrels in the morning due to
the light combined with the birds altitude and velocity. In the afternoon
light we were able to see that a clear majority of the birds we could ID as
to gender were female, a significantly higher percentage than has been the
case heretofore; will drop in data in an update to this report. Local birds
included 4-6 Turkey Vultures, and 4+ Ospreys, and an immature Peregrine put
on a good display.

Non-raptor Observations:
Relatively few non-raptors seen (counted). HIghlight was 3 Purple Martins,
one male and two females exploring the recently opened gourds. However,
they did not arrive until 5 p.m. ET! Large numbers of tree and other
swallows started migrating north in late afternoon.

Tonight a cold front is scheduled to pass, leading to a 20-25 degree (F)
drop in temperature and strong NW winds gusting to 25-28 mph. Ideal
conditions, weakening in the afternoon. Almost 75% of our birds were seen
in the afternoon today, going to 6 pm EDT, giving us hope for strong
movement tomorrow morning. Monday currently appears to be the last
favorable weather for significant hawk migration at Plum until next weekend
(if then), ending a remarkable streak of favorable weather for 8 of 9 days!
After Monday, check forecasts looking for the next day with strong winds
anywhere out of the west. It looks like the adult harrier migration is
rapidly diminishing, and Merlins and accipiters beginning to increase.
Report submitted by Paul Roberts (<phawk254...>)
Plum Island MA information may be found at:

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