Date: 8/22/17 11:04 am From: Joseph Kennedy <josephkennedy36...> Subject: [texbirds] Smith Point Hawk Watch Saturday
Spent the day out at smith point and we had some birds including hawks and really lots of blue-gray gnatcatchers. The wind was still sort of southwest but was not a gale but did come up later and the movement died.
and local or non-moving 1 red-tailed hawk, 2 white-tailed hawks. 1 crested caracara, turkey and black vultures and a couple more of the migrating species.
With 5 swallow-tailed kites, it is hard to say that gnatcatchers were the birds of the day but there were hundreds of them going by the tower and crossing the bay starting early but a few still passing at the end of the count. There would be spurts of 25-30 birds and then just a few and then more spurts. When a couple of dozen stopped in a nearby tree, the local chickadee people really objected. I counted spurts up to 50 and lots like that. At least 750 and even 1,000 birds but I did not click them for a formal count.
A few yellow warblers went by too as well as a few orchard orioles. One dickcissel flock of 8 birds with maybe a total of 20. A flock of 13 eastern kingbirds included 1 western kingbird. Good numbers of swallows in the am with cliff swallows the commonest followed by barn swallows and purple martins. Up to 3 hummingbirds fought over the feeders but seemed to move on and be replaced a couple of hours later. Only heard upland sandpipers a couple of times plus 2 groups of least sandpipers and one solitary sandpiper.
A flock of wood storks was in a holding pattern just in front of the tower for a couple of hours. Started with 10 birds and ended with 14. The little round puffy clouds up there actually resulted from small thermals as the storks would drift up into the clouds as did some of the hawks. Only a couple of hundred white ibis passed during the day. 1 anhinga up there.
Smith point is one of the strongholds of olive-sided flycatchers during the fall and a peak of 5 birds was seen at one time.
They have added a good number of frigatebird perches out on the oyster leases to the west of the tower and some of the new ones can be seen from the tower. Shortly after 7am, I counted 44 frigatebirds on the perches out near Robbins Park and they were already playing musical perches. They did not fly by the tower but were seen off and on way off to the north crossing from Trinity to Galveston Bay. Lots of fishermen at the park and not many shorebirds but good numbers of clapper rails and a few seaside sparrows.
Good north winds in the next few days should have lots of kites moving and more and more hawks. But the 100% rainy weekend does not sound good.
-- Joseph C. Kennedy on Buffalo Bayou in West Houston <Josephkennedy36...>