Date: 9/24/18 6:14 pm
From: reports--- via VA-bird <va-bird...>
Subject: [VA-bird] Mendota Fire Tower (24 Sep 2018) 71 Raptors
Mendota Fire Tower
Mendota, VA, Virginia, USA
Daily Raptor Counts: Sep 24, 2018

Species Day's Count Month Total Season Total
------------------ ----------- -------------- --------------
Black Vulture 0 0 0
Turkey Vulture 0 0 0
Osprey 0 16 16
Bald Eagle 2 7 7
Northern Harrier 1 1 1
Sharp-shinned Hawk 5 16 16
Cooper's Hawk 2 12 12
Northern Goshawk 0 1 1
Red-shouldered Hawk 0 0 0
Broad-winged Hawk 59 4601 4601
Red-tailed Hawk 0 11 11
Rough-legged Hawk 0 0 0
Golden Eagle 0 1 1
American Kestrel 0 8 8
Merlin 0 0 0
Peregrine Falcon 0 1 1
Unknown Accipiter 0 5 5
Unknown Buteo 0 0 0
Unknown Falcon 0 1 1
Unknown Eagle 0 0 0
Unknown Raptor 2 3 3

Total: 71 4684 4684

Observation start time: 07:45:00
Observation end time: 15:45:00
Total observation time: 8 hours

Official Counter: Scott Turner

Observers: Bambi Fincher


At the beginning of the day temperature was 64F.
The day started mostly cloudy, most of the clouds thin, covering 85% of the
sky. The clouds spread, covering 95% at 09:00 and 98% at 11:00 and for the
remainder of the day. Visibility was 30 miles, except during the middle of
the day when it extended to 40 miles. It became warmer at
mid-day, however after some showers it cooled off so that at the end of the
day the temperature was back to 66F.

The first drops of rain were felt at 12:05. Rain became more frequent,
until it rained lightly for most of the hour from 14:00 to 15:00.

The wind was steady and moderate throughout the day; bending the smaller
trees. It started out from the east, veering to the southeast around

Raptor Observations:
07:45-08:00 Cooper's Hawk - 1
08:00-09:00 none
09:00-10:00 Cooper's Hawk - 1
10:00-11:00 Sharp-shinned Hawk - 2, Broad-winged Hawk - 22
11:00-12:00 Broad-winged Hawk - 33, Bald Eagle - 1
12:00-13:00 Northern Harrier - 1, Sharp-shinned Hawk - 2, Broad-winged Hawk
- 3, Bald Eagle - 1
13:00-14:00 Broad-winged Hawk - 1
14:00-15:00 Unknown Raptor - 2
15:00-15:45 Sharp-shinned Hawk - 1

The east wind caused virtually all of the raptor observations to be on the
Mendota side of the ridge. Many were at eye level, offering only an edge-on
view which made identification a challenge. The Broad-wings were
for the most part seen only streaming while riding the updraft along the
ridge. An exception was a kettle of 8 which developed over a knob to the
northeast shortly before 12:00 and then streamed past us.

The first Bald Eagle sighting was an adult, heading along the ridge toward
the northeast. The second Bald Eagle sighting was also an adult, heading in
the opposite direction. Perhaps the two sightings should cancel out.

My impression was that the Sharp-shinned Hawks were more intent on hunting
than on migrating. At least half of them did not show a tendency to travel
to the southwest.

One of the unknowns was a suspected Osprey. A local Red-tailed Hawk and
many Turkey Vultures were also observed.

Non-raptor Observations:
Chimney Swifts were numerous. At times it seemed as if you could point your
binoculars in any direction (including straight up) and see a Chimney Swift
right away.

Bambi Fincher observed Black-throated Green Warblers and a Blue-headed
Vireo on the trail. I thank Bambi also for many raptor sightings which made
the time of her visit the most productive of the day.

There were plenty of Blue Jays and Dark-eyed Juncos, a few Crows, and 2 or
3 Ravens sighted. A Carolina Wren called from time to time. We heard a
Carolina Chickadee.

A Monarch butterfly flew by.

Scattered showers are predicted for the morning hours then mostly to partly
cloudy skies the rest of the day.

Report submitted by Ronald Eugene Harrington (<roneharrin...>)

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