Sunday, November 2, 2014

Detroit River Hawk Watch! - 02 Nov 2014

juv Cooper's Hawk
Clear skies, temps in the low 30's, and no wind brought the promise of a good day of birding. Yesterday's gale-force winds shut everything down, and I had not taken a single photo. Today would be much better!

I found a Northern Mockingbird along Jefferson Ave. in Riverview and got a photo before it flew off.

I made a quick pass through Elizabeth Park and spotted a Red-bellied Woodpecker foraging for acorns near the roadside. I took a few pics through the car window, and then was able to get a couple digiscoped images before it flew off.

I drove down Campau Rd. and checked out the Pt. Mouillee HQ. Things were a bit quiet there. I found a small flock of Rusty Blackbirds on Roberts Rd. but little else.

Haggerman Rd. was active with flocks of Horned Larks. I spotted a single Vesper Sparrow on the roadside, but it flew off before I could get the camera on it. Its rusty shoulder patch and white eye ring popped in the morning sun.

Red-tailed Hawk
I then headed back to Lake Erie Metropark to check out the Hawk Watch. I arrived just in time! A Golden Eagle appeared within minutes of my arrival over the stacks, and we all had nice scope views before it drifted northward out of sight. I would later get a text from Pat Jakel that 23 more Golden Eagles would pass less than an hour after I left... I hate my life (I missed 16 last Saturday after leaving at noon to chase a Townsend's Solitaire that I would ultimately miss, as well).

Though it was cold, the action picked up quickly. We spotted a half-dozen Rough-legged Hawks, including a pair of dark-phased birds. Dozens of Red-tailed Hawks and Red-shouldered Hawks were passing overhead among hundreds of Turkey Vultures and Common Crows. Cooper's Hawks, Sharp-shinned Hawks, and even a couple Bald Eagles made appearances.

juv Cooper's Hawk - composite
I was shooting w/ the Nikon 1 V1 attached to the 300/2.8 VRII so my EFL was 1377 mm. This helped capture some of the very high birds passing overhead.

Cooper's Hawk

Red-tailed Hawk

Red-shouldered Hawk

Red-tailed Hawk

Red-shouldered Hawk

This is the summary of today's count as retrieved from HawkCount.Org

Check out for more information about today's and past counts at the Detroit River Hawk Watch!

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