Date: 9/29/19 4:06 pm
From: reports--- via VA-bird <va-bird...>
Subject: [VA-bird] Rockfish Gap Hawk Watch (29 Sep 2019) 723 Raptors
Rockfish Gap Hawk Watch
Waynesboro, Virginia, USA
Daily Raptor Counts: Sep 29, 2019

Species Day's Count Month Total Season Total
------------------ ----------- -------------- --------------
Black Vulture 0 0 0
Turkey Vulture 0 0 0
Osprey 13 158 178
Bald Eagle 7 112 128
Northern Harrier 0 11 12
Sharp-shinned Hawk 34 371 373
Cooper's Hawk 4 56 65
Northern Goshawk 0 0 0
Red-shouldered Hawk 0 5 6
Broad-winged Hawk 647 25802 25932
Red-tailed Hawk 4 63 77
Rough-legged Hawk 0 0 0
Golden Eagle 0 0 0
American Kestrel 5 83 86
Merlin 1 15 15
Peregrine Falcon 5 18 18
Unknown Accipiter 0 6 6
Unknown Buteo 0 0 2
Unknown Falcon 0 2 2
Unknown Eagle 0 1 1
Unknown Raptor 3 9 10
Mississippi Kite 0 3 7

Total: 723 26715 26918

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

Official Counter: Brenda Tekin

Observers: Rose Thomas

John ad Lila Porterfield, Mark Kosiewski of Chapel Hill, NC; Pat Doughterty
and Alex Struminger, Susi Meddis

Arrived by 7:45 EST and it was already warming up. No clouds, not even one
wisp or contrail. Nothing but bright blue sky and thick haze and low
ground fog to the east and west. Nice WNW wind so if there were any birds,
they would be flying! Humidity was up there at 96% that gradually
diminished throughout the day to 44% with increasing cloud cover. Zero
clouds for first 5 hours, then 5%, 10% and to at least 50% at top of the 3
o'clock hour (EST) with increasing Dark threatening clouds.

Thunderstorms moving through by 5 pm EST.

Raptor Observations:
Wowie Wow!!!! What a day!! Well worth the probable permanent crooked
neck, sore shoulders and fried eyeballs!!! A HUGE THANK YOU to Rose Thomas
for helping out today! We witnessed an early morning gradual liftoff as
the sun burned off the moisture and humidity levels began to drop. Small
groups lifting up out of trees, coming across low and then they began to
gain altitude as the day moved on. We're talking high up, oftentimes up
in bright blue but by golly we found them. May have missed some but we
also found good numbers, including quite a few kettles ranging from 5-10
birds up to several with close to 50! Bulk of the the birds were between
8:30 - 11 EST, 99 between 12-1 EST and then dropping off. Thankfully with
increasing clouds we were able to find small kettles and streaming birds
later in the day.

Things slowed down by 2:15 EST so Rose packed it up for the day. I was
getting ready to head out at 2:30 so I was tallying the day's counts. Rose
had just pulled out when I looked up and saw a group of 8 BW sailing across
the sky against backdrop of clouds. a single BW flew in about 2 minutes
later. I decided to stick around 15 more minutes. A few more birds flew in
so I said to myself 15 more minutes. Just when I thought the coast was
clear, I was recalculating totals, looked up and there was a kettle of
broad-wings, maybe 2 1/2 to 3 glass fields above the ridge over Rockpile
#2! I was able to photograph that group of 29! Within the next 15
minutes, 1 adult Peregrine at 3:05, a merlin that trailed behind a juvenile
Bald Eagles, divebombing it at 3:10, two adult Bald Eagles flying close
together at 3:20.

I was so pleased with myself for finding the high circling Peregrine but
had no-one to share it with. Rose had been the Peregrine finder of the
day, having spotted the other 4 earlier in the day.

An interesting side note. Our current Broad-wing total for the season
stands at 25,932 which is the 4th highest season count over past 10 years.
The third highest season Broad-wing count is 26,257 back in 2006, and only
325 more than our current season total. I'm sure there are more to be
seen. Will it be enough to move up to 3rd place for past 10 years? Stay

Non-raptor Observations:
Too busy counting and searching the sky. There were Monarch Butterflies
and Chimney Swift trickling through throughout the day.
Report submitted by Brenda Tekin (<brenda...>)
Rockfish Gap Hawk Watch information may be found at:

More site information at

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