Date: 9/7/20 9:56 am From: Joseph Kennedy <josephkennedy36...> Subject: [texbirds] Smith Point Hawk Watch Saturday, first hawks near tower
Did the smith point hawk watch on Saturday. Started out gloomy with lightning that turned into a slow rain for over an hour past the start time. Drove around a little extra but did not have a lot of migrants except for dickcissels which were constantly dzerting overhead. Not many lit. Later at the tower a flock of over 100 flew by and sort of ended the dickcissel movement.
Good numbers of blue-gray gnatcatchers were also moving and in the bushes. That movement died out too later.
On the way down the fish and american crows were near each other again but a mile north of Whiteheads.
Other land bird migrants included eastern wood pewees, alder flycatcher, and blue grosbeak. Robbins Park had the two young of the year black skimmers
Hawks seen while driving around that I had not had on earlier trips included a very soggy broad-winged hawk that had trouble getting off the road and 3 young red-tailed hawks. Two of the red-tails knew each other and even shared a power pole for a bit while moving around. A great horned owl landed on a pole at Robbins park causing the mourning doves under the pole to freeze and then leave in a panic.
Later in the day one olive-sided was in the same tree for a couple of hours. One group of 14 eastern kingbirds, heard yellow-breasted chat and orchard oriole, pewee and great crested flycatcher were the tower land bird migrants.
Water birds were a single anhinga and 102 white ibis.
Almost no vultures were seen until late in my stay when 2 black vultures flew in to rest after celebrating too much at the vulture appreciation day party. Only one group and a couple of single turkey vultures too despite a northeast wind.
About 50 hawks for the day include 1 flock of 5 swainson's and 5 broad-wings. A northern harrier was my first of the season as was a couple of sharp-shinned hawks.
One sharp-shin put on the show of the day while really harassing a red-tailed hawk. Over 5-10 minutes it repeatedly dove on the red-tail that was forced to drop a good bit and roll over to protect itself. The sharp-shin hit the red-tail at least twice. And was almost grabbed on the second dive when the red-tail rolled over and almost grabbed the sharp-shin.
A couple of red-shouldered hawks came by the tower after lunch for my first and only pictures of the fall from the tower.
With the beast part of the hawk watch season approaching, a jet stream activated by 3 typhoons and thus cold fronts, things will really start picking up later this week depending on how far the cold front makes it past the UTC and clears out the rain. But any front is better than the no front falls of the last couple of years.
-- Joseph C. Kennedy on Buffalo Bayou in West Houston <Josephkennedy36...>