On arrival today,I wasnt expecting much raptor action,the weather channel had called for morning rain,and more in afternoon. Id broken away to try some photos of Cedar Waxings in the Mountain Ash trees,it was so slow. By 10:45am I hadnt seen much,so was sitting down having a 10min nap,nodding off and on,when I hear" Your not going to see many birds like that!" As I snapped to,and cleared the haze from my head I saw Colin coming down the garden path. It turned out to be a very good thing Colin did wake me. Between 11 and 11:30am,we got 41 raptors,all started when we got on a lone Redtailed Hawk. Suddenly there were birds joining it,then as I scribbled down what we'd seen Colin says "Ive got a Bald Eagle". Now I hurriedly try to locate it and say "ok Ive got your Eagle and there are 2 Broadwings above it!" Colin replys "I dont see any Broadwings" Frank says "Well your binos are stronger so field of vision is less." Colin "My bird is circling." Frank "Mine is flying straight". Finally we both realized for certain we are on 2 different Eagles.
For an hour,the birds all seemed to be really high and going out over the lake to avoid the big grey clouds. At least 3 times ominous looking grey/black clouds were coming towards us from the north,but each time they broke up before it rained on us,and the birds just kept on coming. By "staying on" birds,suddenly more would appear. We saw one Kestrel,and quickly a 2nd came into view,just as Colin and I both got on to the bird,it snagged a dragonfly,and ate on the wing as it continued onward.
Our final total doubled my year to date count. We saw 172 raptors today,consisting of,
The 41 Broadwinged Hawks today is more then the previous 2 fall seasons totals combined(only 18 in 2005 and 22 in 2005..current year total including todays 41 is now 50) . Preliminarily I attribute this to Colins expert help,and more seasonal weather conditions then the last 2 seasons. Counts of over 100 raptors are special days,this is the earliest Ive had one.
Of special none raptor note...thousands and thousands of Monarch Butterflys moving through,all day long. Every direction we looked we saw Monarchs,they were beautiful,though distracting,as we tried to separate the Monarchs from the birds in our binocular views.