Date: 10/11/18 1:59 pm From: CHELEMER, MARC J <mc2496...> Subject: [JERSEYBI] Nice "small raptor" show at Wagner Farm this morning
Recently, an article appeared on (I believe) the Cornell Lab of O's website about efforts in South Asia to prevent the mass slaughter of Amur Falcons, Merlin-sized birds which roost by the tens of thousands (!) at specific locations on their migration path from China to southern Africa. The locals had been catching them by the hundreds--for food. That practice, fortunately, has stopped. The description by the article's author of looking out over a reservoir and seeing Amur Falcons lined up, like Tree Swallows on telephone wires, along the entire perimeter of the reservoir's fence almost made me want to book a trip. I've never really observed raptors roosting communally...
...until today. At the Wagner Farm Arboretum, just east of Glenhurst Meadows, there is a field on the north side of the road across from the farm proper. A stroll up into that field this morning and the chance fly-through of a big Cooper's Hawk brought seven (!) Kestrels into the air all at once; they had been perching on fenceposts, trees, and bushes all around the field. Amazing! Kestrels cum Chimney Swifts! Later, on the south side of the Arboretum, I found four other Kestrels (at least) perched in a single dead tree. One of them, feeling cheeky, stooped on a passing Peregrine. It made one appreciate the difference in size between these two species of agile raptors.
Meanwhile, accipiters were playing hide and seek all over the area. Each time I espied one, it was almost assuredly immediately given chase by another one: Coop chasing Sharpie, Sharpie chasing Coop, individuals crashing into treetops, wings beating, tail fanning out, claws grasping, all trying to gain a foothold while being harassed by another bird. Add to that the thrill of Kestrels chasing either species and Crows chasing anything with a hooked bill; well, it was an athletic morning! I counted three of each accip, but I think there were probably more.
Thirty-eight species total for the meandering 1-mile loop I traipsed over an hour and fifteen minute interval; despite the clouds, the temperature, and the presence of some gangly insect which regarded DEET as candy, it was a nice birdy morning. Here's hoping that, as the winds shift around to the northwest late tonight (as Intellicast says they're going to), we get an influx tomorrow and Saturday of new migrants!