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.

Not sure of the exact count but we had

5 swallow-tailed kites
8 Mississippi kites
10 broad-winged hawks
5 swainson's hawks
26 night hawks
1 red-shouldered hawk

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

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

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

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