Observation start time: 07:15:00 Observation end time: 18:45:00 Total observation time: 11.5 hours
Official Counter: Gabriel Mapel
Observers: Josh Laubach, Vic Laubach
Visitors: Andrew Sharp, David & Jennifer Spears, Jennifer Jowdy, Normand Spurling, Nancy Tresp, Barak Brashear, Dixie Sommers, Doug Wigner, Crista Cabe, Guy & Susan Babineau, Mike Smith, Beth Ann Doerring, and a group of 5 from the Blue Ridge Young Birders Club.
Weather: Very pleasant (13.1-21.5C), strong WNW Winds early decreasing to mild WNW Breezes this afternoon. Another cloudless morning but a great sky (50-70% cloud cover) this afternoon. Very clear visibility.
Raptor Observations: A great day with nearly 100 raptors counted and terrific diversity with 11 raptor species represented! Another very good Eagle day with 10 more BE: 8 adults (10:19, 10:22, 10:22, 11:10, 11:10, 12:37, 12:39, 3:18), 1 2nd-YR (10:34), and 1 4th-YR (2:09). The highlight of the day was our first Golden Eagle of the season, an adult at 3:11pm. It gave nice views as it sailed down the west side of the gap.
We also had a wonderful Falcon flight, and our first 3-Falcon day with at least one of each species. Merlins were well represented with a very respectable early season showing of 3 (10:29, 12:18, and 1:27). We were watching a Kestrel fly down the east side of the gap this morning when the first Merlin of the day flew in from behind it, dive-bombed it a couple times, and then sped out south in front of the Kestrel. An immature Peregrine Falcon gave a direct, fast flyover at 4:26pm.
First Raptor: 8:07 CH, Last Raptor: 5:35 AK.
Non-raptor Observations: 1 DC Cormorant, 1 Great Blue Heron, 164 Chimney Swifts, 37 Hummingbirds, 4 Common Nighthawks, 1 Barn Swallow, 61 Waxwings, 275 Grackles, and 28 Monarch Butterflies.
Predictions: We will be holding our annual Open House event at the hawk watch tomorrow. Come join us, enjoy some free refreshments, check out our exciting programs and displays, and see what's flying over! Looks like we are going to have cool, nice, sunny weather for the event. ======================================================================== Report submitted by Gabriel Mapel (<birdmangabriel...>) Rockfish Gap Hawk Watch information may be found at: http://www.rockfishgaphawkwatch.org