Observation start time: 09:00:00 Observation end time: 15:00:00 Total observation time: 6 hours
Official Counter: Bob Epperson
Observers: Caitlin Hofmann, Gene Sattler
Weather: Overall, a nice day on the mountain with plenty of clouds (25% increasing to 80%) for good bird spotting, and enough steady wind (10-13 km/h SW) to keep the gnats away while moderating the unseasonably warm temperatures (22-27 C).
Rain storm approaching from the west shut down the count at 3:00 pm EST.
Raptor Observations: Single Broadwing was first bird of the day at 9:19 am (all times EST). Several close birds flew right over the ridge including an Am. Kestrel, a good handful of BW's, and a N. Harrier that circled twice at "reach out and touch" distance before heading SW. BW's were sparse during the first two hours. The first sizeable kettle, 35 birds, circled up to the east at 11:24 am, followed by the largest kettle, 115 birds, at 12:11 pm. A single BW was the final bird at 2:42 pm.
Non-countable raptors included a local RS heard calling extensively in the forest below, a local RT perched in a tree on the east side of the count site, and a Bald Eagle seen in steady flight heading NE in the direction of the James River.
Non-raptor Observations: RT Hummingbird winging south, RB Nuthatch calling for the fourth consecutive day, foraging Hairy Woodpecker, and numerous Monarchs.
Predictions: Final count for the Broadwing season of 2018, which produced the third highest total since counts began in 1997.
Additional raptor counts may be conducted once the weather cools toward the end of October 2018. ======================================================================== Report submitted by Bob Epperson (<ecoland...>)