[CT Birds] QR September summary

Brian Bielfelt speedyperegrine at yahoo.com
Thu Oct 2 07:55:16 EDT 2008


I wanted to give everyone a summary of the past month at Quaker Ridge.  Because of our proximity to the coast, September is always the best month for numbers at Quaker Ridge.  Since we are a semi-coastal or mid-coastal watch, October is not nearly as good; we don't get the number of raptors that coastal and ridge top watches will be getting in October. 

Broad-winged Hawk:  Last year was a mediocre for broad-winged hawks and great for several other species.  This year, was great for broad-wings but mediocre for many of the species which were good last year.  This is the fifth best September on record.  It is the first time we've been above 14,000 since 2000 and above 15,000 since 1995.  

In total, Quaker Ridge had around 18,600 in September.  Chestnut Ridge, 6 miles north, got 9300 this September.  There were several days which there were large groups passing between us; both hawk watches counted the edges of what we believed to have been a large stream passing through beyond either hawk watch's line of sight.  We estimate that there was another 2000-5000 more uncounted broad-wings passing between us.  That means there was around 30,000-35,000 broad-winged hawks that passed along southern Connecticut this year.

American Kestrel:  We've had a good last two years, ending each season with a little over 700.  This year we are on track to do 300 less.  

Bald Eagle:  Second best September.  We will likely have the second best year, down from last year.

Northern Harrier:  Nearly 50 less bird than we've had at this time in 2007 or 2006.  Will probably be and average or below average season.

Sharp-shinned Hawk and Cooper's Hawk:  Last year was a record year for both species.  Cooper's is down from the previous two Septembers while Sharp-shinned are a little above average.  

Osprey:  The worst September since 2004, but still slightly above average.  In the past three years, we've had three days with 50+ Osprey.  In the past two years, we've had one day of 140+ Osprey.  This year we've not had a single day with 50+ Osprey.  We will end the season over our average, but it will not be a year to remember.

Merlin and Peregrine:  Still a little early to tell, since their peak is around this time.  Last year was a record year for both species, and we are slightly down from it.  Peregrine's fourth best September and average to an above average month for Merlin.

Full results and total numbers for the year is available at hawkcount.org.

Eyes to the Skies,

Brian Bielfelt
Greenwich, CT


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