Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Flight picking up

This is one of at least three Cooper's Hawks that were working the northern half of the Hook today. I doubt that they migrated out of the area today, and expect to see at least one of them again tomorrow.

Raptors that were moving in today's stiff NW-winds, included 6 Osprey, 2 Bald Eagles, and... 3 Peregrine Falcons! Especially those Peregrines were a surprise to me, it seems so early for them. I see Peregrines practically daily on the Hook, often perched in the dunes or working the beach. All three Peregrines today flew north in a straight line, and seemed potential migrants to me. One was way out over the ocean, flying parallel to the Jersey coastline. Another was closer along the beach; this was a (blond) tundrius juvenile - that one quite possibly a winter resident, since this subspecies does winter here and generally stays well into April or May. I put this bird on the count because it went north and because I hadn't seen this individual before.

The resident Osprey still have not returned. Gannet numbers out on the ocean are now rapidly building. I counted only north-flying birds today and got to 130 - practically all in the afternoon.

For me personally most interesting sighting yesterday happened while walking the beach in the mist, not too far off shore, a Pilot Whale. I now regularly see Harbor Seals around Sandy Hook, but this was a first...

Partly cloudy weather with light SW winds are in the forecast for Thursday... Seemingly ideal conditions for migration over Sandy Hook.

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