[CT Birds] Boothe Park 10/28 - historic TV count, 914 raptors, Cackling, etc.

Scott Kruitbosch skruitbosch at ctaudubon.org
Fri Oct 28 19:15:30 EDT 2011

Not much to add to my HMANA report below other than...whoa! Read "Raptor Observations" for the history we made today and the other obs for the rarity we had fly by. If you have more information on those high counts that I did/do not please email me. I still don't believe it and I was there. What a site and what a future we have.

Tomorrow will be a historic day as well as this storm should surpass anything that has occurred in October in CT for at least the last 100+ years. Good luck with strange and odd birds coming to your feeders. Be safe - snowy leaves on trees and 50-60MPH wind gusts in areas will down limbs and power lines. Expect the unexpected for birds and weather, basically.

Boothe Memorial Park
Stratford, Connecticut, USA
Daily Raptor Counts: Oct 28, 2011
Turkey Vulture  521
Osprey  2
Bald Eagle  4
Northern Harrier  2
Sharp-shinned Hawk  109
Cooper's Hawk  22
Red-shouldered Hawk  20
Broad-winged Hawk  6
Red-tailed Hawk  218
American Kestrel  3
Merlin  2
Unknown Raptor  1

Total:  914

Observation start time: 08:30:00
Observation end   time: 16:00:00
Total observation time: 7.5 hours

Official Counter:        Scott Kruitbosch

Observers:        Bill Banks, Charlie Barnard

Tom Murray, Ross Allen, and more.

After a cold front and associated lows cleared us overnight a perfectly
placed high by the Great Lakes moved in to give us NW-N winds. These winds
were of perfect strength for the site, mostly between 4-7MPH, strong enough
to move birds well but not put them all at the coast. Residual clouds early
plus those resulting from daytime heating made morning skies decent at
times, though midday was totally clear. Late clouds in advance of a
powerful and beyond historic "winter" storm forming to the south helped
some as well. Temperatures went from 37 to 52.

Raptor Observations:
To my knowledge, the Turkey Vulture count obliterates any New England
record a few times over. Additionally, the Red-tailed Hawk count seems to
be the 3rd highest ever for New England. We hold the crown with 249 on
11/01/10, and Lighthouse Point has a high count of 238. We feel we would
have beaten that record had there been a few more clouds for even an hour
midday when many went by unseen, especially from 12-1 with 0% cover and
just 19 tallied.

There were often very large groups of raptors passing by, though some
stand out. The first was a Turkey Vulture group that ended up being around
80 birds, to my tired recollection, from 12-1. They came over the ridge
across the river in "the gap" and stayed low, rising in a thermal and
streaming out, as many did today. The hour had 162, nearly destroying the
entire day record itself. That group broke the actual record.

Another was a mixed species group to our NW near the clock tower between
2-3 that featured late birds including 6 Broad-winged Hawk, 2 Osprey, plus
2 Northern Harrier, several accipiters, and dozens of Turkey Vultures and
Red-tails. They poured in after a lull in the action. Finally, we had a
group of 53 Turkey Vultures around 3:30, as they kept going even until 4.

1 Black Vulture was a part of the large Turkey Vulture group mentioned
above, and the other 3 came on their own overhead before joining a few
Turkeys and heading south.

Non-raptor Observations:
Southbound migrants included:
CACKLING GOOSE  1 - unmistakably small, second in line of a group of CANG
Canada Goose  373
Double-crested Cormorant  1
Great Cormorant  1
Herring Gull (American)  8
Eastern Bluebird  9
American Robin  7
Red-winged Blackbird  741 - first day of real movement here
Common Grackle  21
Brown-headed Cowbird  12

Migrants in the park included:
Yellow-rumped Warbler (Myrtle)  3
Chipping Sparrow  6
Song Sparrow  1
White-throated Sparrow  4

Notable birds included:
COMMON RAVEN  2 - our pair again

An absolutely unprecedented winter storm passing near the benchmark dumping
inches of snow or more across the state along with 50-60MPH wind gusts.
So...not good.

Scott Kruitbosch
Conservation Technician
Connecticut Audubon Society
2325 Burr St.
Fairfield, CT 06824
CAS blog: ctaudubon.blogspot.com
CAS Twitter: twitter.com/CTAudubon
Email: skruitbosch at ctaudubon.org

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