Date: 9/15/20 12:17 pm From: Joseph Kennedy <josephkennedy36...> Subject: [texbirds] Smith Point Hawk Watch Saturday with Hawk
Did the hawk watch at Smith Point on Saturday the 12th. Had lots of hawks for the day. A good north wind brought good numbers of birds down to the tower without a whole lot of variety but this was my first trip for the year with birds actually overhead. Offsetting the hawks was a shortfall in the number of land bird and other water bird migrants including the swallows but ruby-throated hummingbirds entertained.
Things died after lunch as if someone pulled the spigot. Kept checking the radar to see if rain was keeping the birds grounded or going around and saw nothing except a couple of little spots of green. About 3:30 a small shower hit the tower but when I drove home there was heavy rain all the way back to the intersection with 1985 and later the radar got very bright all of a sudden so even modern electronics can have problems if something blocks the radar signal
Flocks of 100 and 200 birds traded back and forth sort of getting together until a sheet of say 1300 birds came by. Groups up t0 800 hung around to the east for a couple of hours and finally disappeared. A good part of the birds were adult whereas most birds in a couple of weeks at the peak of broad-wing migration will be young of the year. Both can be together
Later in the morning a group of 80 anhingas went over the tower. All or almost all were males. They passed several times and were joined by additional groups of 50 or so anhinga until my last count totalled 500.
In contrast to the anhinga I only had 50 white ibis on the day with the largest flock of 21 birds. A single magnificent frigatebird. Very few brown pelicans but some terns were feeding out in the bay. Saw no ducks but some distant hunters were after teal at sunrise.
No olive-sided flycatchers for much of the morning but several mississippi kites, red-tailed, red-shouldered, cooper's and sharp-shinned hawks perched in the favorite trees. Finally a single bird arrived
And then 3 were spaced out in the same trees for a bit.
Working along the side roads and Robbins Park before and after the count, added very few birds to the day. Only had 2 black and 4 turkey vultures but the hawk list did have 10 species most with singles or a couple of birds. The raggedy red-tail I first saw Tuesday was harassed by both cooper's and sharp-shinned hawks and then a broad-wing joined the fun. A mississippi kite came the closest to actually hitting the bird. An attempt to perch did not last long as a cooper's hawk encouraged elsewhere perching.
A flock of 4 baltimore orioles was leaving for the mainland early as were a couple of eastern kingbirds but only a small numbers of dickcissels and gnatcatchers. Swallows were very scarce all day but I had barn and cliff.
A great half day until the rain to the east cut off the birds.
-- Joseph C. Kennedy on Buffalo Bayou in West Houston <Josephkennedy36...>