Observation start time: 06:45:00 Observation end time: 17:00:00 Total observation time: 10.25 hours
Official Counter: Gabriel Mapel
Observers: Baxter Beamer, Brenda Tekin, Rose Thomas, Vic Laubach
Visitors: Mary Mapel, Lois Kauffman, David White, Dave Fischer (Cary, NC), Bob Letts, Lois McKim, Bob & Anne Beckley (Williamsburg), group of 11 from the Montgomery County, WV Parks & Rec staff, Bill Miller (Laurel Hill, NC), Jennifer Jowdy, Kim Bolyard with two groups (13 & 11) from the Bridgewater College Ecology Class, Marshall Faintich, Elizabeth Hunter (Bakersville, NC), Chris Murray (all the way from Saipan in the Northern Mariana Islands!), Maggie & Loretta McCray.
Weather: A nice but warm (18.1-27.0C) day. Moderate WNW Winds until 1pm with light ESE Breezes thereafter. A great sky with a mix of sun and clouds for most of the day. Moderate visibility with thick haze in the distance clearing up a little bit this afternoon.
Raptor Observations: Another very respectable BW flight this morning but boy oh boy we had to work for those birds. From 9-10 we watched a lot of kettling, streaming, kettling, streaming action DISTANT over the Shenandoah Valley to the west. The thick haze certainly didn't help, and more than once we had groups become completely invisible once on edge after streaming out of a kettle. By 10:30 the flight path had shifted to a flight path on the east side of the gap not too far out but those birds certainly were high up and hard to see. Thank gosh for clouds or we wouldn't have seen them at all. Hourly BW Count: 0 (6:45-8), 4 (8-9), 683 (9-10), 484 (10-11), 729 (11-12), 82 (12-1), 6 (1-2), 14 (2-3), 43 (3-4), 16 (4-5).
This afternoon the Broad-wing flight was much slower but the action was just as fun with many different raptor species flying over all across the sky, most very high up. The highlight of the day was the first Northern Goshawk of the season, a stunning adult, providing good views as it flew across the gap at 2:54pm. The NG was raptor species #12 of the day tying our all-time single-day record for number of raptor species in one day. We all searched high and low for a Golden Eagle or Mississippi Kite to take us to that elusive #13 but it just never happened.
IMM NH 8:20, unaged NH 10:27 and 1:30, adult PG 10:54 and 1:30, unaged ML 11:20, 11:52, and 3:31, adult BE 1:57 and 4:02. First Raptor: 7:02 OS, Last Raptor: 4:25 BW.
Non-raptor Observations: Another good non-raptor day. Highlights included: 8 Canada Geese, 1 Great Blue Heron, 173 Chimney Swifts, 7 Hummingbirds, 9 Red-headed Woodpeckers, 31 Flickers, 1 E. Phoebe, 39 Blue Jays, 69 Waxwings, warblers (many unidentified plus 1 Black-and-white, 1 C. Yellowthroat, 1 Cape May, 1 Magnolia, 1 Blackburnian, 3 BT Blue, 2 BT Green), 4 Scarlet Tanagers, 2 RB Grosbeaks, and 159 Monarch Butterflies.
Predictions: Warm and sunny again. ======================================================================== Report submitted by Gabriel Mapel (<birdmangabriel...>) Rockfish Gap Hawk Watch information may be found at: http://www.rockfishgaphawkwatch.org