Early to mid-September is a great time for hawkwatching. Big kettles of Broad-winged Hawks are probably what first come to mind when thinking about September raptor migration. Here at Hawk Ridge, however, it is the chance to see an out of the way Mississippi Kite or Swainson's Hawk that is most exciting to me.
Last year, we tallied one Mississippi Kite. This particular bird was high overhead among a kettle of broadwings, and I was too busy counting other distant kettles to look for it. Therefore, it was quite a treat to get to see some MIKIs this season.
I posted some photos of one Mississippi Kite the other day. As I mentioned in the post, that was the second of the season. What I didn't mention was that Nova Mackentley and I spotted one from her banding station the previous evening, which won't go on the official count. Then, we saw one last Mississippi Kite on the 16th of September, and now have three MIKIs on the official count for 2012!
As for Swainson's Hawks, we had another great year. Our count of 18 this season was a considerable increase over the 10 seen last year. In fact, we had 7 fly by on the 9th of September alone. However, the best day of the season for Swainson's Hawks had to be on the 15th of September. We only counted two that day. What really made the day, though, was that Nova caught one of them! From the counting platform, we were able to watch the Swainson's Hawk, call it in to the banding stations, and watch as it stooped into Nova's station.
Only two Swainson's Hawks had previously been trapped at Hawk Ridge, so it was quite the experience for all of us!
|Hatch Year, intermediate/dark Swainson's Hawk, 9/15/2012 (Caught by Nova Mackentley at Hawk Ridge)|