Date: 8/28/19 1:05 pm
From: <rckeller...> <rckeller...>
Subject: veery flight calls 8/27
On days when I'm a volunteer counter at Hawk Mt., I like to arrive around dawn to listen for nocturnal flight calls at South Lookout. Often I hear few or no calls, but 8/27 was exceptional. Heavy gray clouds tinted fiery pink below were starting to drift in above the smoldering sunrise horizon line on a light south wind. From 5:30 to about 5:50 am, I heard mainly the few hardy crickets that are active at 54 degrees and the local Barred Owl. But from then till about 6, I heard a rush of about 230 flight calls, the great majority of Veery. Birds are descending from night flights at that time, and thrushes in particular tend to call frequently as they come down. Some Veeries, still calling, settled in trees behind the lookout and I could see a few birds, silhouettes against the dawn sky, drop past me into the forest of the Kettle below South Lookout. It was all over by 6:05, the birds having vanished into understory. Probably no Veery was seen or heard at Hawk Mt. for the rest of the day. Since the birds call so frequently as they descend, it's difficult or impossible to count individuals, but there were far fewer than 230, and a few dozen probably spent the day on the sanctuary.
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