Daily Reports for Spring 2017

Visit this page starting March 1 for daily charts and field notes for the 2017 Hawk-count season as submitted by Anna Stunkel.

Click here for current radar for eastern Lake Ontario

Click here for current weather report for Mexico, New York

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Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Observation start time: 8:00 a.m.
Observation end time: 4:00 p.m.
Total observation time: 8 hours
Official Counter: Anna Stunkel
Observers: Joe Brin, Judy Thurber, Kevin McGann
Visitors: Five visitors stopped by. I am so thankful for the help and company of visitors and regulars this spring. It has been an amazing season, thanks in large part to all of you. I have been very touched by the kindness that you all have shown me.

Weather: Light winds started off from the south southeast, becoming southwesterly and then northwesterly in the afternoon. Skies were partly sunny, with temperatures mostly in the sixties. There was a brief period of light drizzle and a nearby thunderstorm during early afternoon, but this cleared out quickly.

Raptor Observations: There was a very strong flight this morning, with plenty of broad-wings, Turkey Vultures, and Bald Eagles on the move. Many birds were drifting out over the lake, and there could have been a larger flight developing offshore. There was also a good flight of juvenile red-tails today. After the storm passed and lake breeze kicked in, things slowed down. The last bird of the official season was a Turkey Vulture. The two red-tail chicks on the nest across the south lookout fields appear to be doing very well, and they are growing quickly.

 Non-raptor Observations: 460+ Blue Jays passed today. Five Green Herons were seen at various times of the day, and seven Common Nighthawks passed this evening.

Forecast: The official season is over, but raptors don’t have calendars! There could still be some good flights well into June. Big flights will be most likely to occur on warm, sunny days with a southerly component to the winds. As we have seen, pre-storm and post-storm movements can also produce spectacular flights. Tomorrow, light westerly winds are expected, which will become stronger in the afternoon. Skies will be partly sunny. There should be some birds on the move, especially in the morning when winds are lighter. Sunday and Monday look like the next good days, if there isn’t too much rain.

 

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Tuesday, May 30, 2017 

Observation start time: 9:00 a.m.
Observation end time: 4:00 p.m.
Total observation time: 5.5 hours
Official Counter: Anna Stunkel
Observers: Kevin McGann, Peter Davidson
Visitors: Rosemary Hanagan.

Weather: There was rain in the early morning, with a period of heavy rain and thunderstorms this afternoon. Light to moderate winds were mainly from the southeast. In between the rain, skies were mostly cloudy, with some periods of more sunshine than clouds. Temperatures were in the sixties.

Raptor Observations: Just before the ominous clouds and thunderstorms hit, a large burst of broad-wings and Bald Eagles began booking it overhead. We had the reverse effect of yesterday, with a large pre-storm (rather than post-storm) movement. It was an amazing sight to see these birds moving against a backdrop of storm clouds. After the storm passed, only a couple of harriers followed. Interestingly, a few more adult birds were seen today (including an adult female harrier and two adult broad-wings).

 Non-raptor Observations: Hundreds of Cedar Waxwings were on the move. A Yellow-billed Cuckoo was calling this morning after the rain.

Forecast: Light to moderate southwesterly winds are expected tomorrow, with partly sunny skies in the morning and possible thunderstorms in the afternoon. Temperatures will be in the sixties to low seventies. We could have another big movement just before the storm hits. This would be a wonderful end to the season.

 

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Monday, May 29, 2017

Observation start time: 12:00 p.m.
Observation end time: 6:00 p.m.
Total observation time: 6 hours
Official Counter: Anna Stunkel
Observers: Kevin McGann, Mike Tetlow
Visitors: Fourteen. Thank you for the good company and spotting assistance!

Weather: It rained throughout the morning, but cleared and quickly became a beautiful day this afternoon. Moderate winds were mainly from the east
southeast, with temperatures in the sixties and seventies. This afternoon, mostly cloudy skies hung on for a few hours, but skies became mostly sunny in the evening.

Raptor Observations: When most of the clouds cleared out this evening, there was an excellent late day flight of broad-wings and Bald Eagles. Broad-wings suddenly began thermalling up and passing in large numbers. Most of the birds were low, with an incredible 31 Bald Eagles passing in the span of a single hour from 4-5 pm EST! A few adult red-tails seemed clearly to be migrating; perhaps these were birds that did not nest this year.

 Non-raptor Observations: 32 Common Nighthawks passed this evening.

Forecast: Rain is currently predicted for most of tomorrow, but keep an eye on the forecast and radar to see how it changes. Moderate south southeasterly winds bode well for migration if we have breaks or a sudden end to the rain. If this were to happen, we could have another large flight similar to the one that occurred today. Fingers crossed! Temperatures will be in the sixties.

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Sunday, May 28, 2017

Observation start time: 7:00 a.m.
Observation end time: 4:30 p.m.
Total observation time: 9.5 hours
Official Counter: Anna Stunkel
Observers: David Wheeler, Judy Thurber, Kevin McGann, Peter Davidson
Visitors: Nine. Many thanks to Andy for treating us all to a wonderful
nighthawk-watching pizza dinner picnic! 

Weather: Light winds were southeasterly in the morning, becoming east southeasterly. There were some small gusts, but despite the relatively light wind, lake breeze never kicked in. Skies were mostly cloudy with a period of more sun in the late afternoon. Temperatures were in the sixties and seventies. 

Raptor Observations: There was a decent flight, with birds flying at a slow but steady pace throughout most of the day. Bald Eagle numbers really picked up late in the afternoon, with a few groups of four to five individuals together. Raptors were flying at varying heights, with some high and others quite low. 

Non-raptor Observations: Many Blackpoll Warblers are continuing to move through. Other highlights included:

 1650+ Blue Jays
~130 Brant
52 Common Nighthawks this evening
2 Wilson’s Warblers
1 Cliff Swallow
1 Magnolia Warbler 

1 Monarch (FOS)

Forecast: Rain and possible thunderstorms are predicted for most of tomorrow, according to the current forecast. However, keep an eye on the radar; precipitation forecasts are frequently subject to change. Even if the morning is a washout for the hawk count, it is possible that there could be many passerines waiting it out in the hedgerows. Moderate southeasterly winds are predicted, becoming southwesterly late in the afternoon. Temperatures will be in the sixties. It appears that our best chances for rain breaks are in the afternoon, when there could be a few raptors on the move.

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Saturday, May 27, 2017

Observation start time: 8:00 a.m.
Observation end time: 3:00 p.m.
Total observation time: 7 hours
Official Counter: Anna Stunkel
Observers: Kevin McGann, Peter Davidson
Visitors: Five 

Weather: Light winds in the morning became more moderate in the afternoon. Winds started from the north northeast, becoming more northerly later on. Skies were mostly cloudy in the morning and mostly sunny in the afternoon. 

Raptor Observations: The morning was very slow, with a nice little burst of activity later on in the afternoon. The predicted southeasterly morning breeze did not happen, resulting in my prediction turning out completely backwards. Whoops! The later burst was probably a result of the wind losing its northeasterly component.

Non-raptor Observations: Things were pretty quiet at the south lookout. There was a burst of Blue Jay activity this afternoon at the north lookout, and many Blackpoll Warblers have been in the trees along the bluff.

Forecast: Light southeasterly winds and partly sunny skies are predicted tomorrow. Temperatures will be in the fifties to mid seventies. There is potential for a very good flight, especially in the morning. Lake breeze may eventually be a factor, but hopefully it will hold off for awhile. Tomorrow looks like the best day in the forecast for the rest of the season. Monday and Tuesday could also be good if there isn’t too much rain. Hope to see you on the hill!

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Friday, May 26, 2017

Observation start time: 8:30 a.m.
Observation end time: 12:00 p.m.
Total observation time: 3.5 hours
Official Counter: Anna Stunkel
Observers:
Visitors: Four, including a professor and a student from Oswego State. 

Weather: Moderate northerly winds, cloudy skies, and temperatures mostly in the fifties. 

Raptor Observations: At this point in the season, young raptors are in no hurry, so they would much rather wait for better winds.

Non-raptor Observations: 1 Blue-winged Warbler

Forecast: Light southeasterly winds in the morning will switch over to northwesterly in the late morning and afternoon. Partly sunny skies and temperatures in the mid fifties to low sixties are expected. There should be a few birds on the move, with most activity likely to occur in the morning.

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Thursday, May 25, 2017

 No count conducted.

 Weather: Rain

 Non-raptor Observations: Ten Common Nighthawks passed this evening.

Forecast: Northwest winds will start off light, becoming moderate to strong in the afternoon. Skies will be cloudy, with temperatures in the mid fifties and a small chance of showers. It will probably be a slow day.

 

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Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Observation start time: 8:00 a.m.
Observation end time: 2:30 p.m.
Total observation time: 6.5 hours
Official Counter: Anna Stunkel
Observers: Bill Purcell, Joe Brin, Judy Thurber, Kevin McGann, Peter Davidson
Visitors: Three 

Weather: Light winds were mainly from the southeast, switching over to northeast at the north lookout late in the afternoon. However, the southeasterly winds persisted inland near ground level. Temperatures were in the sixties and seventies, with partly sunny skies and good cloud cover for spotting.

Raptor Observations: It was strangely slow given the conditions. Perhaps this was because birds were taking a flight path around us or because they were flying at invisibly high heights above the wispy clouds. A possibly leucistic young Bald Eagle passed us today. This bird had extensive white on its upperside, as well as pale, translucent flight feathers.

Non-raptor Observations:There was a strong Blue Jay flight, mostly in the morning. Other migrant passerines were very quiet. Observations included:

 ~136 Cedar Waxwings
2 Green Herons
1 Alder Flycatcher

Forecast: Rain is likely throughout most or all of tomorrow, along with strong east southeasterly winds. There is unlikely to be much happening, although any breaks in rain could bring a few low and close birds thanks to the wind direction and speed.

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Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Observation start time: 8:00 a.m.
Observation end time: 4:30 p.m.
Total observation time: 8.5 hours
Official Counter: Anna Stunkel
Observers: Judy Thurber, Kevin McGann
Visitors: Ten. Thank you for the delicious snacks and wonderful reading material donated by several visitors today! 

Weather: Light to moderate winds started out from the southeast, switching over to northwest and then north in the afternoon. Skies started out mostly cloudy with thin cloud cover, and then became partly sunny. Temperatures were in the sixties.

Raptor Observations: There was a good flight of young broad-wings and Bald Eagles today, with a decent appearance from Turkey Vultures and young red-tails as well. It was interesting to see two adult broad-wings this late in the season. Today we broke the Bald Eagle season record. There were excellent views of eagles, especially in the morning, when they followed a flight line low along the lakeshore. Sharpie numbers have slowed down quite a bit. I was happy to confirm that there are at least two chicks in the red-tail nest across the south lookout fields.

Non-raptor Observations: Two American White Pelicans were exciting to see today, and they were spotted by Kevin McGann. Other highlights included:

 ~1280 Blue Jays
1 Cliff Swallow
1 Common Nighthawk

Forecast: Light southeasterly winds will switch to north northeasterly in the
afternoon, with mostly cloudy skies and temperatures in the sixties to low seventies. There should be another good flight of raptors in the morning, hopefully with more low Bald Eagles passing through.

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Monday, May 22, 2017

Observation start time: 8:00 a.m.
Observation end time: 3:15 p.m.
Total observation time: 5,75 hours
Official Counter: Anna Stunkel
Observers:
Visitors: Two 

Weather: This morning, moderate winds were from the east southeast, with cloudy skies. There was some rain at around midday. This afternoon, winds became southeasterly. Windspeed calmed gradually, and a little sunshine peaked through later in the afternoon. There was a bank of ominous, black clouds and a brief period of rain at ~2:10-2:15 pm EST. This was followed by bright but cloudy skies and a wind shift to west southwesterly.

Raptor Observations: Almost nothing was moving in the morning. However, just before the ominous cloud bank rolled in this afternoon, there was a sudden mad rush of broad-wings coming through as quickly as their wings could carry them. These birds were low and moving at top speed ahead of the rain. It was a pleasant and unexpected surprise! It was also a good day for Bald Eagles and harriers. There were not many birds after the rain.

 Non-raptor Observations: There was a big Cedar Waxwing flight today, with ~1200 of these birds counted (mostly in the morning). I did not count Blue Jays, but there had to have been at least 1000. A beautiful Red-headed Woodpecker stopped by and spent a few minutes at the north lookout, visiting a feeder and landing on a nearby telephone pole before moving on. ~110 Brant (FOS) passed, some of which were very low over my head. Other highlights included: 

29 Eastern Bluebirds
8 Ruby-throated Hummingbirds
1 Common Nighthawk (mid-afternoon; there should be more this evening)
1 Common Tern

Forecast: Light, variable winds should start off from the south, becoming
southwesterly, westerly, and then northwesterly. Temperatures will be in
the high fifties to low seventies, with partly sunny skies. It could be a
good morning if the lake breeze holds off for awhile and we have enough young broad-wings and Bald Eagles that are ready to go.

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Sunday, May 21, 2017

Observation start time: 7:00 a.m.
Observation end time: 3:00 p.m.
Total observation time: 8 hours
Official Counter: Anna Stunkel
Observers: Bill Purcell, Judy Thurber, Kevin McGann, Mike Tetlow
Visitors: Eight, plus the picnic-goers. Thank you to to Ken Burdick and to all who helped organize the Bird-A-Thon and the compilation picnic! 

Weather: Skies were mostly cloudy to overcast, with a five minute burst of rain at around 1:45 pm EST. Strong winds were generally from the east southeast.

Raptor Observations: It was relatively slow, but certainly better than the last two days! There was a nice Bald Eagle flight, and raptors were flying low and slow. Highlights included a juvenile goshawk and a rough-leg.

Non-raptor Observations: It was interesting to see a flight of 29 Eastern Bluebirds today. Other highlights included: 

~905 Blue Jays
32 Common Nighthawks (this evening)
6 Common Terns
at least one Pine Siskin
1 Yellow-billed Cuckoo

Forecast: Moderate southeasterly winds and on and off rain are expected tomorrow, with most of the rain happening in the morning. There is unlikely to be much going on.

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Saturday, May 20, 2017

Observation start time: 8:45 a.m.
Observation end time: 1:00 p.m.
Total observation time: 4.25 hours
Official Counter: Anna Stunkel
Observers: Kevin McGann
Visitors: At least 23. Thank you to Kevin McGann for joining me today, and for showing me some great local hotspots. Also, thank you to Bernie Carr for capturing a Ring-billed Gull with a broken wing found on Sage Creek Drive, and for transporting the bird to a wildlife rehab facility. (Thanks for the morels, too, Bernie!) I look forward to seeing everyone at the Bird-A-Thon compilation picnic tomorrow. 

Weather: Moderate to strong winds were generally from the north northeast, becoming more northerly as the day went on. Skies were clear.

Raptor Observations: Very slow. 

Non-raptor Observations: Despite the lack of raptor migration and the less-than-ideal conditions for other migrants, it was still a very fun day for a Bird-A-Thon. Kevin McGann joined my team, The Hill Hellions (and he even stuck around while I was at the south lookout- that’s dedication!). Including our sightings at Derby and other nearby locations, we ended up with a total of 109 bird species. Highlights from the south lookout included one American White Pelican (spotted by Jay McGowan) and three Sandhill Cranes. 20 Common Nighthawks passed over Sage Creek Drive this evening, and a Great Egret was seen.

Forecast: Moderate to strong southeasterly winds are predicted tomorrow, with partly sunny morning skies becoming overcast in the afternoon. Temperatures will be in the low fifties to high sixties. There is potential for a very good flight, with birds likely to be low and close. There should be good passerine diversity as well.

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Friday, May 19, 2017

Observation start time: 8:00 a.m.
Observation end time: 12:00 p.m.
Total observation time: 4 hours
Official Counter: Anna Stunkel
Observers: Bill Purcell
Visitors: About 30, including the SUNY-ESF Field Ornithology class. Tomorrow is the Onondaga Audubon Bird-A-Thon, and I look forward to seeing many teams visiting Derby Hill. I will be participating as a solo “team” called The Hill Hellion. Everyone should keep an eye out for the Eared Grebe, which may still be hanging around tomorrow! 

Weather: Strong northwest winds, overcast skies, and temperatures in the high forties to low fifties.

Raptor Observations: Given the conditions, it was slow as a slug. 

Non-raptor Observations: We had a very exciting find today. The visiting SUNY-ESF Field Ornithology class found an Eared Grebe off the bluff this afternoon. It was watched for several hours, and occasionally joined small groups of Long-tailed Ducks in the distance. The bird is in breeding plumage. Great work and many thanks to the class for finding this rarity!

Forecast: Light and variable winds with a northerly component are predicted tomorrow, with partly sunny skies. Temperatures will be in the low fifties to low sixties. Although the wind direction is not ideal, winds will be light, so there should be at least a few raptors moving. For Bird-A-Thon participants (or any visitors), I would recommend a brief stop at the south lookout to check for raptors (early afternoon is likely to be busiest), and a visit to the north lookout for a hedgerow walk and/or passerine flight watch in the early morning or evening. Common Nighthawks may be flying just before sunset.

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Thursday, May 18, 2017

Observation start time: 7:00 a.m.
Observation end time: 3:00 p.m.
Total observation time: 8 hours
Official Counter: Anna Stunkel
Observers: Bill Purcell, Dave Fitch, David Wheeler, Judy Thurber, Kevin McGann, Peter Davidson
Visitors: About sixteen. Thank you to all for the help and good company today. 

Weather: Moderate winds started off from the south southwest, becoming southwesterly, west southwesterly, and then westerly. Temperatures were in the seventies to low eighties, with partly to mostly cloudy skies.

Raptor Observations: Birds were very high again today, and examination of the radar showed that the flight was spread out inland and over the lake as well. There were a few good bursts of Turkey Vulture movement, and there was a good Bald Eagle flight. A note about yesterday: Radar examination showed that there was a significant flight as far inland as over the town of Mexico. West southwesterly winds provide a great tailwind for migrating raptors, but this often causes the flight to spread out extensively and become very high. 

Non-raptor Observations: The hedgerows were a little quieter today, but there was still good diversity. A female Yellow Warbler was busily at work beginning to build her nest. Please be careful not to disturb birds that are nesting near the trails. It was nice to hear both Green Frogs and Bullfrogs calling from Sage Creek Marsh. Highlights from the north lookout and hedgerows included:

~3290 Blue Jays
4 Green Herons, including one group of three together
1 Bay-breasted Warbler
1 Indigo Bunting
1 Red-eyed Vireo (FOS)
1 Veery
1 Yellow-billed Cuckoo (FOS)
1 Yellow-throated Vireo 

Forecast: Moderate to strong northwesterly winds and mostly cloudy skies are expected tomorrow. There should be some cloud cover breakup late in the afternoon. A cold front is going to pass through tonight, which will bring temperatures down to the mid fifties. It will probably be relatively slow. Sunday sounds like it will be a great day, with moderate to strong southeasterly winds in the forecast. Stay tuned!

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Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Observation start time: 7:00 a.m.
Observation end time: 3:30 p.m.
Total observation time: 8.5 hours
Official Counter: Anna Stunkel
Observers: Bill Purcell, Dave Fitch, David Wheeler, Gerry Smith, Judy Thurber
Visitors: Fourteen. Many thanks to all who helped spot birds on a challenging spotting day. Also, thank you to visitors for the wide variety of delicious snacks. 

Weather: It was a beautiful, summer-like day, with moderate, sometimes gusty winds. Winds started off south southeasterly, becoming southwesterly and then westerly. Skies were partly to mostly sunny. Temperatures were in the seventies and eighties.

Raptor Observations: Birds were very high today, with some nearly out of sight even through binoculars. Most of the flight occurred from late morning to early afternoon. There was an impressive broad-wing flight, with some large kettles, and there were also quite a few Bald Eagles and Turkey Vultures. It is likely that many birds, especially sharpies, were flying at a height at which they could not be detected due to the excellent thermal conditions today. A Golden Eagle was a nice highlight.

Non-raptor Observations: What a fun day for non-raptor diversity! Thanks to Wayne for providing some of these numbers via eBird, and to Gerry for counting Blue Jays. Some highlights of the day included:

2375+ Blue Jays
156 Cedar Waxwings (first big flight)
8 Green Herons
5 Wilson’s Warblers
4 Eastern Wood-Pewees
3 Indigo Buntings
2 Bay-breasted Warblers
2 Black-throated Blue Warblers
2 Wilson’s Snipe
1 Blackburnian Warbler
1 Blackpoll Warbler
1 Philadelphia Vireo (FOS)
1 Red-headed Woodpecker flyover (FOS)
1 Willow Flycatcher (FOS)
1 Yellow-throated Vireo (FOS) 

Forecast: We are very lucky in that we are likely to have another epic day tomorrow (fingers crossed for a kite this time). Moderate south southwesterly winds are expected in the morning, becoming stronger and more west southwesterly in the afternoon. Hopefully, having more south to the wind will result in slightly lower birds, but they will probably be stratospheric again for the most part. There is a chance of thunderstorms in the afternoon, but the morning and early afternoon will be partly sunny. Temperatures in the seventies and low eighties are expected. Again, we should have a good morning flight of passerines and good diversity in the hedgerows.

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Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Observation start time: 7:15 a.m.
Observation end time: 3:00 p.m.
Total observation time: 7.75 hours
Official Counter: Anna Stunkel
Observers: Kevin McGann, Wayne Fidler
Visitors: Six. Thanks to Wayne for keeping non-raptor counts. 

Weather: Light winds were quite variable, with a northerly component throughout most of the day. Skies were partly cloudy, with cloud cover thickening in the afternoon. 

Raptor Observations: There was a nice morning burst, and the majority of broad-wings were juveniles. Things shut down by mid-afternoon. There was a relatively good Bald Eagle flight.

Non-raptor Observations: Morning observations from the north lookout (spotted by Wayne Fidler) included: 

792 Blue Jays
16 Bank Swallows
9 Cliff Swallows
2 Indigo Buntings (FOS)
1 Green Heron 

From the south lookout, I observed six American Pipits and one Tennessee
Warbler. This evening, Wayne saw the first two Common Nighthawks of the
season.

Forecast: Get ready; a warm front is coming tonight! Tomorrow looks like it is going to be an epic day in all respects, and it should be a full north lookout day. Temperatures will stay in the upper fifties overnight, with
temperatures tomorrow starting in the low sixties and rising to low
eighties. Light winds will start off from the south southeast, switching
over to more southwesterly in the afternoon. Windspeed will become more
moderate as the day progresses. Partly cloudy skies are predicted. We could have a very nice flight of juvenile broad-wings, with the warm front
bringing the possibility of something unusual such as a Mississippi or
Swallow-tailed Kite, Black Vulture, or Swainson’s Hawk. I predict that it
could be the biggest morning of the spring for passerine movement, in terms of numbers and diversity. Thursday’s weather looks quite similar, and it should also be an epic day.

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Monday, May 15, 2017

Observation start time: 8:00 a.m.
Observation end time: 2:00 p.m.
Total observation time: 6 hours
Official Counter: Bill Purcell
Observers:
Visitors: One

 Weather: Strong WNW-NW winds through the day. Complete overcast for the first three hours and a changing sky until total blue for the last two hours.

Raptor Observations: Nothing moving in the morning and then a brief flight until the sky cleared and the winds increased.

Non-raptor Observations:

Forecast: Should be a little better with a light lake breeze.

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Sunday, May 14, 2017

Observation start time: 7:00 a.m.
Observation end time: 4:00 p.m.
Total observation time: 9 hours
Official Counter: Anna Stunkel
Observers: Bill Purcell, Kevin McGann
Visitors: 

Weather: Last night’s weather forecast was very incorrect, and it turned out to be a beautiful day, especially in the morning. Light winds were south southeasterly in the morning, switching over to moderate west northwesterly a few hours into the count. There was a very small burst of rain that lasted only a few minutes at about 12 pm EST. Skies were partly cloudy.

Raptor Observations: There was a nice flight this morning, although birds were flying very high. Following the brief rain burst, broad-wing activity really picked up, with many juvenile birds, and the flight became nice and low. There was also a good run of juvenile red-tails today, and one rough-leg. The highlight of the day was an unusual raptor (which I am marking in the report as unknown, for now), which passed over at 9:20 am EST, very high over the north lookout. I am in the process of doing research to examine possibilities. Given the fact that the bird was too high to photograph, it may not be possible to come to a conclusive ID. It is possible that it was an escaped falconry bird of some kind, and it was either a large buteo or small eagle. Here are my notes:

Upon seeing this bird, I immediately thought that it did not look like any raptor I have ever seen. It was loosely associated with a group of Broad-winged Hawks, a few Sharp-shinned Hawks, and two Northern Harriers; given its height it was hard to judge size. It appeared to be larger than a Red-tailed Hawk but smaller than a Bald Eagle. The first two things that were immediately noticeable were the very short, small tail (proportionallysimilar to a Black Vulture), and very broad, rounded wings. The wings were also relatively short, with broadness throughout their length and slightly rounded ends. The bird was in a glide, and I was not able to count emarginated primaries given the wing position and height of the bird. The tail had a slight curvature to it, but was not spread fully. On a few occasions, it flapped (with slow, deep wingbeats) 4-5 times and then continued gliding. The wings were slightly, but not sharply, crooked during the glide. The body appeared to be bulky. Head projection was similar to that of a red-tail.

The bird appeared to be very dark below. Lighting was quite good at the time, as it was morning and I was not looking towards the sun as the bird passed. The head appeared chestnut colored, but could have seemed lighter than the body due to lighting and the angle of the bird. The tail did not appear uniform, and seemed to have a few slightly translucent or dirty white rectrices. Again, height made it difficult to see true tail pattern. The upperside was not visible. Bill, soft part, and leg coloration were impossible to see at the bird’s height. The bird did not vocalize.

I have been discussing the bird’s ID with others, and will make a note in a future report if we come to a conclusive decision.

Non-raptor Observations: Thousands of Blue Jays were on the move, including one leucistic (almost completely white) bird. There was good diversity during my hedgerow walk this morning, and species included Canada Warbler, Chestnut-sided Warbler, Magnolia Warbler, Black-throated Green Warbler, Empidonax sp., and Blue-winged Warbler. One Blackburnian Warbler and one Fish Crow (identified by call) flew over the north lookout.

Forecast: Moderate to strong northwesterly/west northwesterly winds, cloudy skies, and temperatures in the forties and fifties are expected tomorrow. There probably won’t be much going on, but maybe some Bald Eagles will brave the wind.

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Saturday, May 13, 2017

Observation start time: 6:00 a.m.
Observation end time: 5:00 p.m.
Total observation time: 11 hours
Official Counter: Anna Stunkel, Gerry Smith
Observers:
Visitors: Many visitors came for Derby Hill Day, and it was a great success! Many thanks to all who organized and helped out with this event. I am so glad that everyone had a chance to enjoy good bird diversity today. 

Weather: Light to moderate winds were generally from the east southeast, with cloudy skies. The first few hours of the morning were rainy, but luckily the rain cleared out during late morning. Temperatures were in the fifties.

Raptor Observations: After a rainy morning with just a few birds here and there, it turned out to be a good day. There was a nice sharpie flight when the rain stopped, and birds were flying low. There was a lull during the afternoon, followed by a second late burst which included some broad-wings as well. A Merlin that appeared to be hanging around the north lookout was chasing blackbirds and perched several times, providing great views.

Non-raptor Observations: There was excellent diversity today, with species including Magnolia Warblers, one Blackpoll Warbler (FOS), 1-2 Canada Warblers, two Wilson’s Warblers (FOS), Chestnut-sided Warblers, Nashville Warblers, Least Flycatchers, one Mourning Warbler (FOS), Cape May Warblers, one Northern Waterthrush, one Blue-headed Vireo (first that I’ve seen here, but late), one Warbling Vireo, one Veery, and Northern Parulas. Other highlights included:

610 Blue Jays
7 Ruby-throated Hummingbirds
2 Barred Owls dueting
1 Sora calling 

Forecast: The morning and early afternoon may be a rainout for the count tomorrow. However, light southeasterly and then west southwesterly winds are expected, which could bring some interesting diversity and numbers of passerines to the hedgerows. After the rain passes, windspeed will strengthen and become west northwesterly. There may be a little sun in the afternoon. Temperatures will be in the mid forties to mid fifties. If the rain stops before wind switches over, there could be a good burst, and sunshine may get some birds moving late in the afternoon. Looking ahead, Wednesday and Thursday currently look like they could be big days in all respects.

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Friday, May 12, 2017

Observation start time: 6:00 a.m.
Observation end time: 3:00 p.m.
Total observation time: 9 hours
Official Counter: Anna Stunkel
Observers: Bill Purcell, Dave Fitch, David Wheeler, Gerry Smith, Judy Thurber, Kevin McGann, Peter Davidson, Phil Taylor
Visitors: There were thirteen visitors today. Tomorrow is Discover Derby Hill Day, and we hope to see you there! Feel free to park at the north lookout. Check out the following link for more information: https://www.evensi.us/discover… 

Weather: Light winds began mainly from the south southeast, eventually switching over to westerly and then north northwesterly in the afternoon.
Temperatures were in the high forties and low fifties, with skies starting
off clear and then becoming partly cloudy. 

Raptor Observations: It was slower than I had hoped for, but there was still a good number of sharpies. Birds were high in the morning but there were excellent sky conditions for spotting; they then became lower in the afternoon and things really slowed down. One goshawk zoomed by, low and close.

Non-raptor Observations: We had great diversity and some interesting sightings today. We did a Big Day and will submit our numbers to The Nature Conservancy, with a total of 103 species observed on Derby Hill property. Highlights included: 

5550+ Blue Jays
36+ Baltimore Orioles
4 Pine Siskins
3 Ruby-throated Hummingbirds
3 Scarlet Tanagers
3 Solitary Sandpipers
2 American Pipits
2 Cliff Swallows
2 Orchard Orioles (FOS)
1 American Bittern
1 Blue-winged Warbler (FOS)
1 Green Heron
1 Marsh Wren
1 Tennessee Warbler (FOS)

Forecast: There is a chance of showers in the morning, which will diminish as the day progresses. Light southeasterly winds are in the forecast, with
temperatures in the mid fifties. There should be some raptors flying,
especially in the afternoon as conditions become drier. Species-wise, we probably have the most hope of getting a decent sharpie flight. Any precipitation should be light, and the rain may actually be our friend when
it comes to tomorrow’s scheduled bird walks. The weather should cause migrating passerines to settle down into the hedgerows where they are more easily seen. Thanks to the southeasterly wind direction both overnight and tomorrow, it ought to be a great day for passerine numbers and diversity.

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Thursday, May 11, 2017

Observation start time: 8:00 a.m.
Observation end time: 3:00 p.m.
Total observation time: 7 hours
Official Counter: Anna Stunkel
Observers: Bill Purcell, Phil Taylor
Visitors: Two 

Weather: Winds were light to moderate and variable (often north northeasterly/north northwesterly), with windspeed increasing as the day went on. It was mostly cloudy, but with generally thin, wispy cirrus cloud cover.

Raptor Observations: There was a nice little morning burst, although a lot of the birds were inland. Things gradually slowed after that, ending in barely a trickle. The distant red-tail nest across the south lookout fields appears to have hatched chicks.

Non-raptor Observations: Three Solitary Sandpipers flew over, and one Black-throated Blue Warbler was singing. Again, there was a big Blue Jay flight (1000+ birds), with many passing in the distance while I was at the south lookout. A beautiful male Scarlet Tanager (FOS) was foraging on the trail near the boardwalk this evening.

Forecast: Light east southeasterly winds are predicted in the morning, becoming southerly and then switching to north northwesterly in the afternoon (or maybe sooner depending on lake breeze). Skies should be partly sunny, with temperatures in the fifties and low sixties. It should be a great day for raptor migration if enough birds are ready to go. The morning will probably be the busiest time. A strong morning passerine flight is likely, hopefully with nice warbler diversity and a good number of Baltimore Orioles and Scarlet Tanagers going over.

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Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Observation start time: 7:45 a.m.
Observation end time: 4:00 p.m.
Total observation time: 8.25 hours
Official Counter: Anna Stunkel
Observers: Bill Purcell, Judy Thurber
Visitors: Six 

Weather: Moderate winds were variable, starting from the north northeast and becoming more northwesterly in the afternoon. It started out clear, with cloud cover increasing in the late morning and into the afternoon. Temperatures were in the forties. 

Raptor Observations: There was a nice little Turkey Vulture burst, with a good Bald Eagle flight as well. It was interesting to see four rough-legs this late, and for the second day in a row there was a day count of four peregrines!

Non-raptor Observations: When I got up this morning, the sky above the north lookout was teeming with Blue Jays. Unfortunately, I did not count them since I had to go to the south lookout, but there were surely thousands of birds. A pair of crows has begun furiously mobbing everything in sight that flies low over the woods across from the south lookout, maybe because their chicks hatched today. Turkey Vultures are very good at dodging the crows.

Forecast: Light northwesterly winds are expected tomorrow. Skies will start off partly sunny, with cloud cover increasing as the day goes on. It will start off in the forties but will warm up nicely to the high fifties in the afternoon. There will probably be a flight ranging on a scale from okay to decent. Friday looks very good, with light southeasterly winds likely to bring plenty of raptors and passerines.

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Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Observation start time: 8:15 a.m.
Observation end time: 4:00 p.m.
Total observation time: 7.75 hours
Official Counter: Anna Stunkel
Observers: Bill Purcell
Visitors: Don Metzger 

Weather: Light to moderate winds were variable, often from the north northwest. Skies were mostly cloudy, with a little cloud thinning in the afternoon, and temperatures in the low forties. 

Raptor Observations: Despite a slow start, it turned out to be a very fun day given the conditions. There was an excellent Bald Eagle flight, and four peregrines passed. Many of today’s birds passed overhead.

Non-raptor Observations: The first two Canada Goose goslings of the year were seen at the south lookout. A Great Crested Flycatcher was calling, and a Brown Thrasher was singing nearby (with his impressions including Least Flycatcher, Northern Flicker, and Red-winged Blackbird). Two American Pipits flew over.

Forecast: Partly sunny skies, light northwesterly winds, and temperatures in the forties to low fifties are expected tomorrow. Given this spring’s tendency towards big days when the sun comes out after long stretches of cloudy days (regardless of light off winds), tomorrow should be very good. Since we are getting later into the season it probably won’t be huge, but there should be a strong flight, hopefully with a lot of Bald Eagles again.

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Monday, May 8, 2017

Observation start time: 8:00 a.m.
Observation end time: 2:30 p.m.
Total observation time: 6.5 hours
Official Counter: Anna Stunkel
Observers:
Visitors: 

Weather: Moderate to strong winds were from the west northwest, with overcast skies and a few sprinkles in the morning and late afternoon. Temperatures were in the forties. Windspeed generally increased as the day went on, with a brief lull late in the afternoon.

Raptor Observations: It was slow, but not bad considering the conditions. There was a nice Bald Eagle flight, with mostly immatures and at least two “Florida” adults (which nested in the southern US and are now moving northwards for the summer). “Florida” Bald Eagles can be identified by their smaller size compared to northern individuals.

Non-raptor Observations:
The first Wood Thrush of the season was singing his lovely song at the 
south lookout. A Ruby-throated Hummingbird visited the feeder.

Forecast: Overcast skies and light to moderate northwesterly winds are predicted tomorrow, with temperatures in the mid forties. It probably will be relatively slow again, but the reduced windspeed should get some birds moving, especially in the morning when winds will be at their calmest. There’s just one more day to go before the sun finally emerges on Wednesday.

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Sunday, May 7, 2017

Observation start time: 11:30 a.m.
Observation end time: 2:00 p.m.
Total observation time: 2.5 hours
Official Counter: Anna Stunkel
Observers:Visitors: Eleven. Thanks to all for the good company, good stories, and good questions. You helped to make the day more interesting! 

Weather: It sprinkled and drizzled on and off, with low cloud cover and moderate to
strong westerly/west northwesterly winds. Temperatures were in the low forties.

 Raptor Observations: Very few birds, but it was nice to see a peregrine powering through. 

Non-raptor Observations:
1 Bobolink
1 Ovenbird

Forecast: Moderate west northwesterly winds, cloudy skies, and chilly temperatures in the high thirties to low forties are expected tomorrow. On the plus side, it is unlikely to rain. A stalled low pressure system is putting a damper on things, and it looks like Wednesday is our next real chance for decent conditions. I am not expecting much tomorrow, but it should be better than the past few days.

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Saturday, May 6, 2017

Observation start time: 9:15 a.m.
Observation end time: 1:15 p.m.
Total observation time: 3.75 hours
Official Counter: Anna Stunkel
Observers:
Visitors: Two

Weather: More of the same generally yucky weather, with on and off rain, overcast skies, and temperatures mostly in the forties. Moderate winds were from the west southwest and west. 

Raptor Observations: Not much. A few harriers and sharpies.

Non-raptor Observations:

1 Bobolink
1 Northern Waterthrush
1 Ovenbird (FOS)
1 Veery (FOS)

Forecast: Unfortunately it looks like the wet weather is going to continue tomorrow. There may be some breaks in the rain in the afternoon, but there probably will not be much raptor activity. Temperatures will be in the low forties, with moderate westerly winds. The next warmup and sunny day is predicted to occur on Wednesday- it can’t come soon enough!

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Friday, May 5, 2017

Observation start time: 1:00 p.m.
Observation end time: 4:00 p.m.
Total observation time: 3 hours
Official Counter: Gerry Smith
Observers:
Visitors: One. Thank you to Gerry for covering. 

Weather: It rained for most of the day until late afternoon, with strong
southeasterly winds and overcast skies persisting throughout the day. 

Raptor Observations: One juvenile harrier.

Non-raptor Observations: At least three adult male Baltimore Orioles were visiting the hummingbird feeder. 110 Blue Jays passed.

Forecast: Moderate southeasterly winds are expected in the morning, switching over to southwesterly in the afternoon. The morning should be dry with a little sunshine, and hopefully some birds will be on the move. The afternoon will probably be rainy on and off with little happening.

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Thursday, May 4, 2017

Observation start time: 7:00 a.m.
Observation end time: 3:00 p.m.
Total observation time: 8 hours
Official Counter: Anna Stunkel
Observers: Judy Thurber, Kevin McGann, Peter Davidson, Phil Taylor
Visitors: Six 

Weather: Winds were generally light and from the southeast, becoming variable in the afternoon with some southwesterly component. There was a little sun in the earlier part of the morning, followed by overcast skies. Temperatures started in the low forties, reaching sixty by the end of the day. 

Raptor Observations: Birds were coming through in a relatively constant trickle, mostly in ones and twos with a few larger groups of broad-wings veering over the lake. Highlights included a juvenile goshawk and a Golden Eagle. Birds became quite high in the afternoon, and surrounding rain eventually shut down the flight.

Non-raptor Observations: Blue Jays were on the move again, with 4225 individuals counted. I knew it was going to be a big day when I looked out the window this morning to find about 40 Blue Jays at the feeders together. Other observations included: 

3 Great Egrets flying together
1 Blackburnian Warbler
1 Chestnut-sided Warbler (FOS)
1 Least Flycatcher
1 Ruby-throated Hummingbird
1 Warbling Vireo (FOS)

Forecast: Rain and strong east southeasterly winds are expected tomorrow. There may be a few birds late in the afternoon if the rain stops, but it’s likely to be a washout for the most part.

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Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Observation start time: 8:00 a.m.
Observation end time: 3:00 p.m.
Total observation time: 7 hours
Official Counter: Anna Stunkel
Observers:
Visitors: Six

Weather: Strong winds were from the west northwest, with mostly cloudy skies. There was a brief period of some clearing in the morning, and skies became mostly sunny late in the afternoon. Temperatures were in the mid forties.

Raptor Observations: It was a slow day, with a little burst in the morning while we had some sun. Surprisingly, things did not pick up late in the afternoon when the sun came out again, probably because of the gusty winds. A few disheveled juvenile broad-wings were mixed among the adults. Most birds were low. 

Non-raptor Observations: One Sandhill Crane.

Forecast: Light southeasterly winds and mostly cloudy skies are expected tomorrow. A little sun might peek through in the morning, and lake breeze may take over eventually. Temperatures will be in the low forties to high fifties, with a small chance of showers in the late afternoon. The cold morning temperatures and unsettled afternoon weather aren’t ideal, but there should be some birds moving.

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Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Observation start time: 7:00 a.m.
Observation end time: 4:00 p.m.
Total observation time: 9 hours
Official Counter: Bill Purcell
Observers: Anna Stunkel, Chris Holt, Kevin McGann
Visitors: Four from Quebec. 

Weather: Mostly moderate WSW through the morning strengthening in the afternoon with short stretches of W and WNW. There were 2 periods of rain about 80 minutes each interspersed with drizzle. Sun was a distant memory after a few minuscule patches of blue early on.

 Raptor Observations: It was a better day than we had thought it would be but the flight was scattered and mostly high.

Non-raptor Observations: Nowhere near the variety of yesterday but there were 2070 Blue Jays and 400+ warbler sps. mostly before and after the first period of rain.

Forecast: Cooler than today with mostly west winds and probably some rain showers. Not a prescription for a great flight but there should be some hawks.

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Monday, May 1, 2017

Observation start time: 5:30 a.m.
Observation end time: 3:00 p.m.
Total observation time: 8.75 hours
Official Counter: Anna Stunkel, Gerry Smith
Observers: Bill Purcell, David Wheeler, Gerry Smith, Judy Thurber, Kevin McGann, Peter Davidson
Visitors: Seven. Thank you to all who helped out, and to Gerry for keeping track of the Blue Jays!

Weather: Light to moderate winds were generally from the southeast, with mostly cloudy skies and temperatures in the fifties and sixties. There was a brief period of rain in the afternoon, and rain persisted to the west of us after it passed. 

Raptor Observations: There was an excellent sharpie flight, as well as a strong broad-wing, Osprey, and Bald Eagle flight. Many birds were low, and sharpies were popping up in every direction. After the rain this afternoon, the flight shut down. A juvenile goshawk came zipping through, appearing from behind us. Based on this bird’s behavior, recent observations, and the lack of raptor movement at the time, I decided that it is likely this bird is hanging around the area and had already been counted a few days ago. Gerry and Bill agreed that this was probably the right call. 

Non-raptor Observations: There was an absolutely gigantic Blue Jay flight today, with approximately 10,695 individuals seen passing through! A beautiful male Golden-winged Warbler was seen singing in the hedgerows. Over 1000 Yellow-rumped Warblers were on the move. The first Baltimore Orioles, Ruby-throated Hummingbird, American Redstart, Cape May Warbler, and Prairie Warbler of the year were observed. A flock of seven Sandhill Cranes passed by together. Other highlights included: 

8 Solitary Sandpipers
2 Nashville Warblers
1 Red-breasted Nuthatch

Forecast: Rain is expected for most of tomorrow, with moderate west southwesterly winds and temperatures in the fifties. There may be some movement in the early morning before rain really gets started, but it will probably be a washout for the most part.

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Sunday, April 30, 2017

Observation start time: 7:45 a.m.
Observation end time: 3:00 p.m.
Total observation time: 5.5 hours
Official Counter: Anna Stunkel
Observers: Judy Thurber, Wayne Fidler
Visitors: About nineteen, including more Spring Field Ornithology students from Cornell. 

Weather: Things turned out differently than had been predicted… There was light drizzle in the morning which turned to heavy rain, suspending the count during late morning and early afternoon. Morning winds were moderate and northeasterly, becoming light and easterly in the afternoon, and skies were overcast. Temperatures were in the forties. 

Raptor Observations: Very slow. A few sharpies were moving. The local Merlin was very active.

 Non-raptor Observations: There were some fun first of year birds today, including a Rose-breasted Grosbeak (which also visited the feeders), a White-crowned Sparrow, and a Green Heron. A Common Yellowthroat and Gray Catbird were also heard (and were observed by others yesterday as well). One Sandhill Crane flew by.

Forecast: Tomorrow looks much more promising, with moderate south southeasterly winds and temperatures in the sixties to high seventies. A warm front will move in tonight, and conditions look good for a big passerine flight in the morning. Skies will be mostly cloudy tomorrow, but with a chance of some sun peeking through in the morning and early afternoon. Thunderstorms might move in in the evening, along with a cold front. There could be a good prefrontal flight before this happens, and hopefully the whole day will be a good one.

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Saturday, April 29, 2017

Observation start time: 7:15 a.m.
Observation end time: 3:30 p.m.
Total observation time: 8.25 hours
Official Counter: Anna Stunkel
Observers: Bill Purcell, David Wheeler, Gerry Smith
Visitors: At least 40 visitors stopped by today. These included students from St. Lawrence University and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, as well as a field trip led by Gerry. Although it was a bit slow, I hope that everyone enjoyed having good looks at some low birds. Thank you to all for the good company, good questions, and delicious snacks.

 Weather: Moderate winds were generally from the west and west northwest, with overcast skies and a bit of drizzle in the morning. Despite last night’s forecast for the day, the sun never really came out.

 Raptor Observations: Despite the conditions, it was a decent day, with a little burst of broad-wings in the afternoon. The morning was very slow, but birds were kept low due to the cloud cover. Two Golden Eagles flew past, relatively close. One of them was flying with a Bald Eagle, allowing a nice comparison for visitors. Another peregrine passed by.

 Non-raptor Observations: A Bobolink was heard singing in the south lookout fields.

Forecast: Light east northeasterly winds are expected tomorrow, becoming more easterly and stronger in the late morning/afternoon. Skies will likely be overcast throughout the day, with temperatures in the mid forties to mid fifties. It will probably be a little slow, but there should be some good opportunities to see close birds due to the cloud cover.

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Friday, April 28, 2017

Observation start time: 7:15 a.m.
Observation end time: 4:35 p.m.
Total observation time: 9.25 hours
Official Counter: Anna Stunkel
Observers: Judy Thurber, Kevin McGann
Visitors: About seventeen. Thank you to the many visitors who helped with spotting today! 

Weather: Moderate winds started off westerly and then became west northwest, and eventually northwesterly. Skies were partly cloudy, with plenty of cirrus to help with spotting.

Raptor Observations: The birds just keep coming! We had two huge morning bursts of broad-wing movement, along with a seasonably good Turkey Vulture day and another big Bald Eagle flight. Many birds were high, but there were also impressive low kettles right overhead. A few juvenile broad-wings passed. Two peregrines and a rough-leg were highlights. 

Non-raptor Observations: Passerine movement seemed quiet, but this was surely biased by my being at the south lookout all day. Tree Swallows were zooming especially close to us, perhaps taking advantage of the fact that insects gather around humans. One Solitary Sandpiper passed.

Forecast: Light to moderate westerly/west northwesterly winds are expected tomorrow. Skies will start off overcast, becoming partly sunny in the afternoon. Temperatures will be in the mid fifties. It should be a good day, especially in the afternoon when the sun comes out.

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Thursday, April 27, 2017

Observation start time: 6:00 a.m.
Observation end time: 6:45 p.m.
Total observation time: 12.75 hours
Official Counter: Anna Stunkel
Observers: Bill Purcell, Dave Fitch, David Wheeler, Gerry Smith, Joe Brin, Judy Thurber, Ken Burdick, Kevin McGann, Peter Davidson, Wayne Fidler
Visitors: There was quite a crowd here to enjoy this fun and beautiful day. Thank you to all for helping to spot birds, and to Gerry and Wayne for keeping passerine counts. It was great to meet people from different areas who have traveled from afar to enjoy Derby Hill.

Weather: Moderate to strong winds were mainly from the east southeast, with partly cloudy skies. Temperatures soared into the high seventies and low eighties. 

Raptor Observations: It was an excellent and diverse day, with a decent broad-wing flight and a strong sharpie flight. Although birds were high at times, many of them were low, especially the sharpies. We also had a nice flight of Ospreys and Bald Eagles. The number of juvenile red-tails has increased considerably. Three peregrines and two goshawks were fun highlights. 

Non-raptor Observations: My goodness, where to start? It was an epic day for new arrivals, with a nice passerine morning flight. New arrivals included a Black-and-white Warbler, Chimney Swifts, at least one Cliff Swallow, a Least Flycatcher, Black-throated Green Warblers, Magnolia Warblers, a Nashville Warbler, Purple Martins, and Eastern Kingbirds. Hundreds of Rusty Blackbirds were moving. A Gray Treefrog was chilling out on one of the picnic tables. Butterflies were active, with a few Black Swallowtails, Red Admirals, and Cabbage Whites. Other highlights included: 

2570+ Blue Jays
~125 Purple Finches
6 American Pipits
4 Solitary Sandpipers
1 Bank Swallow

Forecast: Light winds will start off westerly, decreasing in speed and becoming more northwesterly in the afternoon. Partly cloudy skies and temperatures in the fifties to low sixties are expected. It is likely to be a decent day, as long as birds don’t move too far inland in the afternoon.

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Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Observation start time: 6:30 a.m.
Observation end time: 4:30 p.m.
Total observation time: 10 hours
Official Counter: Anna Stunkel, Gerry Smith
Observers: Bill Purcell, Dave Fitch, David Wheeler, Judy Thurber, Kevin McGann, Mike Tetlow, Peter Davidson
Visitors: Many came to enjoy the flight today. Thank you to all who helped out! 

Weather: Light winds were generally from the east southeast in the morning, but then became more moderate and switched over to a lake breeze. Afternoon winds were northwesterly, and later developed a more north northeasterly component at times. Skies were overcast in the morning, becoming partly cloudy and then clear in the afternoon. Temperatures were in the fifties. 

Raptor Observations: There was a decent broad-wing flight, but unfortunately many birds were likely missed as they moved further inland during the afternoon. There was also a strong flight of sharpies throughout most of the day. During late afternoon, the flight slowed and birds became mostly out of viewing range. A dark morph Swainson’s Hawk was an exciting bird this morning. 

Non-raptor Observations: It was also an excellent day for passerine migration. Yellow-rumped Warblers were very active in the hedgerows this morning, along with a few Palm Warblers. Rusty Blackbirds were on the move among the flocks of Red-winged Blackbirds. The first Gray Treefrogs of the season were heard calling. A Fish Crow was seen again; perhaps it was the same bird from yesterday. Other highlights included: 

750+ Blue Jays
4 Blue-gray Gnatcatchers
2 Pine Siskins
1 Great Egret (FOS)
1 Red-breasted Nuthatch
1 Yellow Warbler (FOS) 

20+ Red Admirals

Forecast: Tomorrow looks like it could be a day of epic proportions. Moderate southeasterly winds are predicted, with windspeed increasing as the day goes on. Temperatures will be in the high fifties to high seventies, with clear skies in the morning and maybe a few afternoon clouds. These conditions really could not get any better, so I suspect that we will have a very good flight. Given the windspeed, there will probably not be a switchover to lake breeze, resulting in a full north lookout day and perhaps a good number of low-flying birds. Maybe we will even get an unusual species mixed in. In the morning, there is likely to be a good passerine flight, too. Get ready, folks!

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Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Observation start time: 7:30 a.m.
Observation end time: 3:00 p.m.
Total observation time: 7.5 hours
Official Counter: Anna Stunkel, Gerry Smith
Observers: Bill Purcell, Kevin McGann
Visitors: Eight 

Weather: It rained throughout most of the morning, and finally let up during early afternoon. Strong winds were generally from the east southeast, with overcast skies and on and off sprinkles in the later afternoon. 

Raptor Observations: Birds were flying very low, with sharpies often right over our heads. We probably would have had more birds if the rain had stopped earlier in the day. Still, we enjoyed some great views of low-flying raptors today. 

Non-raptor Observations: A Fish Crow flew over this afternoon, which is an exciting bird for Derby Hill. The bird called several times, and was clearly smaller than the two American Crows flying alongside it. A Raccoon was enjoying a snooze in a maple this afternoon. One Rusty Blackbird landed in the suet feeder tree, providing good views. 

Forecast: The next two days look excellent! Light east southeasterly winds are expected tomorrow, with morning overcast giving way to partly sunny skies in the afternoon. Temperatures will be in the mid fifties to mid sixties. These are ideal conditions for broad-wings and other raptors. The morning clouds may keep birds low, and things could amp up even more in the afternoon as the sun comes out. Light to moderate southeasterly winds, clear skies, and very warm temperatures (in the sixties to low eighties) should also bring in many birds on Thursday. There is a good chance for diversity as well as numbers during the next two days, and we could get some unusual species and/or morphs. If you have been trying to find a good time to visit Derby, now would be the time!

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Monday, April 24, 2017

Observation start time: 7:30 a.m.
Observation end time: 3:00 p.m.
Total observation time: 7.5 hours
Official Counter: Anna Stunkel
Observers: Bill Purcell, David Wheeler, Judy Thurber, Peter Davidson
Visitors: Seven. Thank you to all for the good company and conversation. 

Weather: Light winds in the morning were generally from the northeast, developing a more northerly component in the afternoon and strengthening in speed. There were some periods of thin cloud cover in the morning and later afternoon, but skies were generally clear. Temperatures were in the forties and low fifties. 

Raptor Observations: There was a strong flight throughout most of the morning and into early afternoon, with many broad-wings flying low and directly overhead. The flight began to move inland in the afternoon, but then seemed to shut down (with almost nothing showing up on the radar inland, either). This was probably a result of the strengthening north northeasterly winds. However, we had two exciting birds during the slow period- one subadult Golden Eagle and one juvenile goshawk. The goshawk came by very close to us.

Non-raptor Observations: Highlights included: 

1 American Pipit
1 Bank Swallow (FOS)
1 Greater Yellowlegs
1 Sandhill Crane
1 Solitary Sandpiper (FOS) 

4 Red Admirals

Forecast: Rain is expected during the morning and early afternoon tomorrow, so part of the day might be a washout. However, when the rain stops there could be a very strong flight. Strong east southeasterly winds and overcast cloud cover should keep birds low, allowing for a fun afternoon of hawkwatching. Wednesday and Thursday have potential for gigantic flights, with light southeasterly winds, partly sunny skies, and warm temperatures in the forecast. Temperatures may even reach the high seventies on Thursday.

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Sunday, April 23, 2017

Observation start time: 7:30 a.m.
Observation end time: 5:15 p.m.
Total observation time: 9.75 hours
Official Counter: Anna Stunkel
Observers: Bill Purcell, David Wheeler, Joe Brin
Visitors: Many came to enjoy the big flight, including a field trip led by Dave Wheeler. Thank you to all who helped out! 

Weather: There was a brief period of southerly/southwesterly winds this morning, followed by a quick switch to northwesterly, which continued throughout the day at light to moderate speeds. Skies were clear throughout the day.

 Raptor Observations: It was another spectacular day, with broad-wings moving at a strong pace, especially in the morning. There were multiple flight lines, with some birds overhead and others far in the distance. A beautiful adult leucistic red-tail was a highlight of the day, passing low over us. This bird had mostly normal plumage on the underside, but quite a bit of white on its upperside, especially on the primary and secondary coverts. 

Non-raptor Observations: One Sandhill Crane passed by. A Purple Finch was singing cheerily near the south lookout parking lot.

Forecast: Clear skies and light northwesterly winds are expected tomorrow, with temperatures in the low forties to high fifties. As long as we have enough birds ready to go, it should be a great day, possibly with a very strong morning clean-up flight.

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Saturday, April 22, 2017

Observation start time: 7:15 a.m.
Observation end time: 5:00 p.m.
Total observation time: 9.75 hours
Official Counter: Anna Stunkel
Observers: Gerry Smith, Peter Davidson
Visitors: Twenty nine, including an ornithology class from Oswego State and a trip from Montezuma Audubon Center. It was great to meet you all. Tomorrow morning, please park in the third field or in the lot at the bottom of the hill while visiting the north lookout.

Weather: The morning started out with thick cloud cover and on and off drizzle. Luckily, the drizzle came to a halt during early afternoon. Late in the afternoon, there was some cloud cover breakup. Moderate winds were mainly from the northwest, with temperatures only in the mid forties.

Raptor Observations: With the exception of two periods of drizzle, there was a nice, steady stream of broad-wings throughout the late morning and much of the afternoon. Many birds were following a flight line over Sage Creek Road, just to the north of the south lookout. A juvenile Northern Goshawk flew very low over us today, providing great views for visitors. When I pulled up to the cottage this evening, a sharpie was busily snacking on a blackbird below the feeders. I waited to get out of the car until she made the decision to fly off with her meal, so I wouldn’t scare her off of the prey. 

Non-raptor Observations: I enjoyed the company of a Belted Kingfisher, which was sitting on a nearby telephone wire and calling for awhile this evening. The kingfisher began to chase a bluebird in circles at one point, which was interesting to observe.

Forecast: Tomorrow should be a very good day, as long as we have enough birds in the pipeline. Winds should start off very light and southerly, switching to westerly and then northwesterly in the early afternoon. Windspeed will increase slightly in the afternoon, but will remain light. Clear skies are expected throughout the day. Get ready for some stretching, because birds are likely to be very high. The light wind, clear skies, and significantly warmer temperatures (reaching the high fifties by early afternoon) should all contribute to a strong flight. Perhaps we will even have another Swainson’s Hawk.

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Friday, April 21, 2017

Observation start time: 7:15 a.m.
Observation end time: 5:00 p.m.
Total observation time: 9.75 hours
Official Counter: Anna Stunkel
Observers: Bill Purcell, Dave Fitch, Gerry Smith, Jon Kauffman, Wayne Fidler
Visitors: Seventeen. Thank you to all who helped spot birds! Special thanks to Jon Kauffman, a visitor from Pennsylvania who has been the official counter at several hawkwatch sites. Jon was very helpful when the big flight began!

Weather: The morning started off with drizzle, low clouds, eventual fog, and
generally crummy conditions. Light winds started out from the south and
southwest, becoming more moderate and westerly, then northwesterly. When the fog lifted during late morning, things took a complete turnaround for the better, with a period of mostly clear skies. Cloud cover moved in again in the late afternoon, but luckily birds continued to pour through.

Raptor Observations: What an amazing day! The morning started off with almost nothing, but after the fog lifted during late morning, broad-wings began to pour through in spectacular numbers all over the sky! Many of them were relatively low. There was an especially large final push of distant inland birds towards the end of the day. This was an example of birds not following the “rules” and moving under less than ideal conditions, in a hurry to get to their breeding grounds. (I need an alarm button that sends an alert to all of the regulars when a massive unexpected flight occurs!) Another Swainson’s Hawk (immature light morph) was a highlight of the day this afternoon, passing quite low. 

Non-raptor Observations: Hundreds of Tree Swallows were busily gulping down clouds of midges at the north lookout this morning. A Greater Yellowlegs flew by, and a Sandhill Crane passed the south lookout this afternoon.

Forecast: Moderate west northwesterly winds and overcast skies are expected tomorrow, with temperatures in the mid forties. Given the size of the flight today, there ought to be a good cleanup flight, the size of which will depend on our supply of birds. Birds should be low due to the cloud cover and wind. The flight will probably not reach today’s immense numbers, but hopefully it will still be very good.

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Thursday, April 20, 2017

Observation start time: 7:45 a.m.
Observation end time: 3:00 p.m.
Total observation time: 7.25 hours
Official Counter: Anna Stunkel
Observers: Peter Davidson
Visitors: One

Weather: Moderate winds were generally from the north northeast, with overcast skies. There was a bit of rain in the afternoon. 

Raptor Observations: It was a good day given the conditions, although the flight line was generally distant and inland, requiring a lot of scoping. One Golden Eagle flew by this morning. Birds came through in bursts, with a couple of busy periods interspersed with lulls. 

Non-raptor Observations: A Greater Yellowlegs was heard calling. American Goldfinches have been very active at the south lookout feeder.

Forecast: Moderate winds from the west/west northwest are expected tomorrow, with a chance of rain in the early morning. Skies will be mostly cloudy, but there should be a bit of sun in the afternoon. A big flight is unlikely, but it should be a decent day as long as we have a good supply of birds.

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Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Observation start time: 6:45 a.m.
Observation end time: 2:30 p.m.
Total observation time: 5.25 hours
Official Counter: Anna Stunkel
Observers: Bill Purcell, Dave Fitch, David Wheeler, Joe Brin, Judy Thurber, Ken Burdick, Kevin McGann
Visitors: Nine. Thank you to all who helped spot birds, especially the little speedsters (a technical term for sharpies and kestrels) over the bluff! Thank you to Dave F. and Andy, as always, for generously providing bagels and cookies. 

Weather: Strong winds were generally from the southeast, with overcast skies and temperatures hovering at around fifty. In the afternoon, there were several bouts of on and off rain, causing the count to be suspended and restarted multiple times.

Raptor Observations: Birds were flying particularly low today, just above the trees thanks to the windspeed and direction. Although the flight was not majorly busy, it was a very fun day, with amazing views of birds right over our heads. A flight line also developed over the trees on the horizon and through the gap. There was a nice flight of sharpies, with a few Cooper’s Hawks mixed in. Broad-wings peaked during late morning, and harriers peaked just after the first bout of heavy rain.

Non-raptor Observations: One leucistic, almost completely white blackbird sp. (probably a Red-winged Blackbird) flew by today. A few Yellow-rumped Warblers were on the move this morning.

Forecast: Partly cloudy skies and light north northwesterly winds are expected tomorrow, with cloud cover increasing in the afternoon. There probably won’t be a lot going on, although the morning could be decent, especially if winds stay light. Temperatures will mostly be in the fifties.

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Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Observation start time: 7:45 a.m.
Observation end time: 2:00 p.m.
Total observation time: 6.25 hours
Official Counter: Anna Stunkel
Observers: Dave Fitch
Visitors: Fifteen. Thank you to all for the good company, conversation, and good questions about Derby Hill. 

Weather: Skies were clear throughout the day, with light northerly winds becoming moderate in the afternoon. Temperatures were in the mid thirties to mid forties. 

Raptor Observations: It was a slow day, with most activity occurring during late morning. Broad-wings trickled through individually and in small groups. A very low-flying fourth year Bald Eagle being mobbed by a crow was a highlight this afternoon. The flight appeared to be making its way inland as the day moved on. 

Non-raptor Observations: One Sandhill Crane was heard calling at the north lookout this morning, and another was seen at the south lookout. A Blue-gray Gnatcatcher called a few times, and a Red Admiral fluttered by.

Forecast: A warm front should be on the way tomorrow, and there could be a very good prefrontal flight in the morning. 15-20 mph south southeasterly winds are predicted, with mostly cloudy skies. Windspeed will pick up as the day progresses. The morning should be dry, and showers are currently predicted to begin in the early afternoon. Temperatures will be in the mid forties to mid fifties. Due to the windspeed and clouds, birds should be flying low and close. Afternoon rain may slow things, but hopefully the morning will be excellent.

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Monday, April 17, 2017

Observation start time: 7:45 a.m.
Observation end time: 2:00 p.m.
Total observation time: 6.25 hours
Official Counter: Bill Purcell
Observers: Ken Burdick
Visitors: Seven 

Weather: Sunny with winds beginning WNW at 10 mph and becoming NW at 14 mph. These conditions often blow raptors everal miles to our south. 

Raptor Observations: A trickle of Broad-wings and little else.

Non-raptor Observations: Brown Thrasher singing most of the day, E. Meadowlark and Savannah Sparrow sharing the field with us. A few Common Loons and Double-crested Cormorants moving north onto Lake Ontario.

Forecast: Sunny and light north winds are predicted. At this time of the year there will be some birds but just how many will depend on the strength of the wind.

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Sunday, April 16, 2017

Observation start time: 6:45 a.m.
Observation end time: 16:00 p.m.
Total observation time: 9 hours
Official Counter: Anna Stunkel
Observers: Bill Purcell, David Wheeler, Kevin McGann, Peter Davidson
Visitors: Fifteen. There must have been Easter festivities going on today. Thank you to all who helped spot birds! 

Weather: Strong winds were generally from the southwest in the morning and early afternoon. There was a very brief period of heavy rain from 1:15-1:30 pm EST, which quickly cleared out, followed by strong, gusty west northwesterly winds. Temperatures were in the sixties and low seventies throughout the day, until a slight chilling to high fifties in the evening. Partly cloudy skies in the morning became mostly cloudy in the afternoon. 

Raptor Observations: It was a fun day with great diversity, a decent broad-wing flight, and a good Turkey Vulture flight for the date. Today, we broke the season Turkey Vulture count record. There were some very impressive broad-wing kettles during the late morning. However, birds became high and drifted over the lake in the afternoon, so it is likely that many of them were missed out of detectable range. Another Swainson’s Hawk flew low over the north lookout this morning, and it was a dark or intermediate immature bird. A Black Vulture was another highlight. Two Golden Eagles were seen today.

Non-raptor Observations: Dave W. spotted an Iceland Gull flying low and close to the north lookout. A Blue-gray Gnatcatcher was flitting around and calling along Grandview Ave. There were several first of year observations, including: 

1 House Wren
1 Sora (calling in Sage Creek Marsh) 

1 Red Admiral butterfly 

Forecast: Moderate west northwesterly winds and cloudy skies are expected tomorrow. Temperatures will be in the mid forties. It might not be a huge day, buthopefully there will be a decent cleanup flight, with birds flying nice and low.

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Saturday, April 15, 2017

Observation start time: 7:00 a.m.
Observation end time: 13:30 p.m.
Total observation time: 6.5 hours
Official Counter: Anna Stunkel
Observers: Bill Purcell, David Wheeler, Joe Brin, Peter Davidson, Wayne Fidler
Visitors: Many. Thank you to all who helped to spot birds! 

Weather: The day started out with light to moderate southeasterly winds, becoming more south southeasterly later on. There was light, wispy cloud cover in the morning with some blue sky. In the afternoon, skies became overcast and then rain began. Temperatures were mainly in the mid fifties to low sixties. 

Raptor Observations: There was a nice flight today, with birds staying relatively low throughout the morning. As the day progressed, the flight got higher and birds began to drift over the lake. There were a few nice kettles of broad-wings. Two Swainson’s Hawks were major highlights of the day. The first bird was relatively high, and it was an intermediate or dark morph of unknown age. I was deep in thought watching it and called out the bird when it was behind us, so unfortunately only a few other people saw it, including Bill and Gerry. Luckily, we had a beautiful view of a second bird, which flew low, slowly, and close right overhead. This bird was a light morph immature (likely a juvenile, but possibly a subadult). Photos of the bird follows this paragraph. When the rain started, this gradually shut down the flight, with a few harriers trickling through before heavier precipitation set in.

 

 Non-raptor Observations: The first Palm Warbler of the season was seen this morning. A Northern Rough-winged Swallow seemed to be checking out the bank below the bluff, considering nesting possibilities. Long-tailed Ducks were calling and displaying on the lake. 

Forecast: Moderate west southwesterly winds are predicted tomorrow, with partly sunny skies in the morning. There should be a nice raptor flight in the morning, and there should be a good passerine flight as well, with southwesterly winds predicted overnight. There is a chance of rain and thunderstorms in the afternoon, but hopefully this will hold off. Temperatures will be in the sixties and low seventies.

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Friday, April 14, 2017

Observation start time: 7:00 a.m.
Observation end time: 16:00 p.m.
Total observation time: 9 hours
Official Counter: Anna Stunkel
Observers: Peter Davidson, Phil Taylor
Visitors: Eleven. 

Weather: Skies were clear throughout the day, and winds started off light and from the southeast. During late morning, windspeed became moderate and switched over to north northwesterly. Temperatures were mostly in the forties and low fifties.

Raptor Observations: The flight started a bit later than I’d expected, but it got going nicely overhead during late morning. When a moderate lake breeze began, the general flight path became lower but shifted far inland, which made for a challenging day (especially due to heat haze). It is likely that many birds flew too far inland to be detected from the south lookout.

Non-raptor Observations: At least one Rusty Blackbird passed the north lookout this morning. A FOS bumblebee buzzed over the south lookout. 

Forecast: Tomorrow looks like it will be an excellent day, with a warm front
approaching; there will be good potential for viewing low and close birds.
Light to moderate winds will start off from the southeast, switching to
mostly southerly in the early afternoon. Rain is predicted to start in the
mid-afternoon, although this precipitation forecast might end up being
pushed back. It should be a great day for sharpies, and just before the
rain hits there may be an especially busy period. Temperatures will start
in the mid forties, climbing to the mid sixties by early afternoon. We
should get partly sunny skies for a few hours tomorrow morning before cloud cover fills in.

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Thursday, April 13, 2017

Observation start time: 7:00 a.m.
Observation end time: 16:00 p.m.
Total observation time: 9 hours
Official Counter: Anna Stunkel
Observers: Dave Fitch
Visitors: Ten

 Weather: It was a nice and sunny day, with partly cloudy skies, moderate winds mainly from the northwest, and temperatures mostly in the low to mid forties. Cloud cover increased later in the afternoon. 

Raptor Observations: There was a nice little movement of broad-wings, with the flight peaking during early afternoon. Birds stayed relatively low thanks to the windspeed. A Golden Eagle passed low, giving us excellent looks. One tailless Turkey Vulture was seen. Juvenile red-tails have been increasing, although there are still a number of adults on the move. 

Non-raptor Observations: Two FOS Yellow-rumped Warblers were hanging out in the hedgerows across the street, and one Sandhill Crane passed overhead.

Forecast: Clear skies and light northwest winds are in the forecast for most of tomorrow. There should be a brief period of very light southerly winds in the morning, so I may spend a few hours at the north lookout (if lake breeze doesn’t take over) before moving to the south lookout. Early morning should be good, hopefully with a nice passerine flight as well. There will likely be a strong flight throughout the day, but birds may end up flying at stratospheric heights in an expanse of blue. Temperatures should be a bit warmer, starting out in the mid thirties but quickly rising to reach the mid fifties by the afternoon.

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Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Observation start time: 7:30 a.m.
Observation end time: 15:00 p.m.
Total observation time: 7.5 hours
Official Counter: Anna Stunkel, Gerry Smith
Observers: Kevin McGann, Peter Davidson
Visitors: Twelve. 

Weather: It was cloudy throughout the day, with temperatures in the low forties and moderate to strong winds out of the west and west northwest.

 Raptor Observations: It was another slow day, with mostly Turkey Vultures and a few broad-wings.

Non-raptor Observations: Seventeen Wild Turkeys were in the south lookout fields, with several toms strutting around and displaying. A FOS Blue-gray Gnatcatcher was flitting around at the edge of the second field this afternoon. 

Forecast: Tomorrow should be better, with moderate northwesterly winds and partly sunny skies. The sun should encourage birds to move, and hopefully we will have a decent flight. Temperatures will be in the forties, reaching the low fifties in the afternoon. Saturday morning could be quite good, with light to moderate southeasterly winds in the forecast and a warm front coming through. Stay tuned!

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Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Observation start time: 6:00 a.m.
Observation end time: 12:00 p.m.
Total observation time: 6 hours
Official Counter: Anna Stunkel, Gerry Smith
Observers: Bill Purcell, David Wheeler, Judy Thurber, Kevin McGann, Peter Davidson
Visitors: Twelve.

Weather: The cold front took too long to hit us, which unfortunately prevented a prefrontal migration from happening. Skies were overcast, with a moderate south southwesterly breeze switching over to westerly and then a lake breeze taking over. Temperatures were in the mid fifties to sixties. Rain to our west shut down the flight, and eventually reached us this afternoon.

Raptor Observations: Very slow, with occasional Turkey Vultures and little else. 

Non-raptor Observations: Despite the lack of raptor migration, it was a good morning for non-raptor sightings. A group of eight Pine Warblers flew towards the lake, which was interesting to observe. A Northern Mockingbird (which is a species not often seen at Derby Hill) landed near the birdfeeders at the north lookout. An Eastern Painted Turtle came waddling through the north lookout parking area, presumably on a mission to find a good egg-laying spot. Other sightings included:

215 Northern Flickers
23 Double-crested Cormorants
15 Pine Siskins
4 Caspian Terns
3 Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers
2 American Wigeons
1 Brown Creeper (FOS)
1 Brown Thrasher (FOS) 

Forecast: Moderate westerly winds in the morning will strengthen in the afternoon, becoming west northwesterly at ~15 mph. It will be cooler, with temperatures in the mid forties and mostly cloudy skies. It might not be a huge day, but hopefully breaks in the clouds will encourage movement and bring us a decent flight.

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Monday, April 10, 2017

Observation start time: 6:00 a.m.
Observation end time: 5:00 p.m.
Total observation time: 11 hours
Official Counter: Anna Stunkel, Gerry Smith
Observers: Bill Purcell, Dave Fitch, David Wheeler, Judy Thurber, Kevin McGann, Peter Davidson
Visitors: Many came to enjoy the flight and the beautiful weather today. 

Weather: Moderate winds were southerly for most of the day, with some variability in the afternoon as lake breeze kicked in. In the evening, there was a burst of quite gusty southerly winds. Temperatures reached up to the low seventies today. Skies were mostly cloudy, but with thin cloud cover for the majority of the day, and thickening cover in the evening.

Raptor Observations: Turkey Vulture movement was a bit slower today, but there were some big bursts of larger groups during the early afternoon. There was a nice sharpie flight, especially in the morning, along with a good number of red-tails. Birds became very high in the afternoon. 

Non-raptor Observations: Eight Wild Turkeys were hanging out on the bluff overlooking the lake, and two Northern Rough-winged Swallows passed. Spring birds are arriving! First of season birds included:

2 Chipping Sparrows
2 Pine Warblers
1 Field Sparrow
1 Ruby-crowned Kinglet
1 Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

Forecast: Light to moderate south southwesterly winds are expected tomorrow, with cloudy skies and a small chance of showers/thunderstorms in the evening. Continuing warm temperatures will likely be in the sixties. An approaching cold front could bring a nice prefrontal raptor movement, probably in the morning. The unstable weather and cloud cover should keep birds low, and there could be a nice flight of sharpies, falcons, and/or harriers.

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Sunday, April 9, 2017

Observation start time: 6:00 a.m.
Observation end time: 6:00 p.m.
Total observation time: 12 hours
Official Counter: Anna Stunkel
Observers: Bill Purcell, David Wheeler, Peter Davidson, Phil Taylor,
Wayne Fidler 

Visitors: There was quite a turnout today, with ~60 people visiting the north lookout to enjoy the flight. Thank you to all who helped spot birds, and to Wayne for keeping non-raptor counts!

Weather: Light winds were generally from the south southeast, becoming variable in the afternoon as lake breeze mixed with southerly winds. Skies were partly cloudy, but with thin, wispy cirrus cloud cover. Temperatures made a drastic change, beginning just below freezing and eventually reaching the sixties. 

Raptor Observations: The Turkey Vultures just keep on coming! A strong vulture flight occurred throughout the day. A slight “lull” in early afternoon was attributed to birds getting out over the lake, further evidenced by our examination of the radar. We also had a strong flight of red-tails, Bald Eagles, and sharpies. Birds were high for most of the day due to the excellent thermalling conditions. In the evening, we had our first five Broad-winged Hawks of the season- very exciting! 

Non-raptor Observations: We had several first of year happenings today, and some nice non-raptor flights. Northern Leopard Frogs (FOS) were calling in Sage Creek Marsh.

Other highlights included:

199 Northern Flickers
73 Double-crested Cormorants
23 Eastern Phoebes
5 Barn Swallows
3 Caspian Terns
3 Northern Rough-winged Swallows (FOS)
3 Sandhill Cranes
1 Eastern Towhee (FOS) 

1 comma sp. butterfly (FOS)
1 Mourning Cloak butterfly (FOS)

Forecast: Light southerly winds in the morning are expected to shift to more south southwesterly in the afternoon, increasing in speed to ~12 mph. It will be another warm day, with temperatures starting out in the low fifties and reaching the mid seventies. Partly cloudy skies and slightly stronger winds than today might bring the birds down a little, but they will probably still be pretty high. It ought to be another great day, and we could have some more broad-wings.

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Saturday, April 8, 2017

Observation start time: 6:00 a.m.
Observation end time: 5:00 p.m.
Total observation time: 11 hours
Official Counter: Anna Stunkel
Observers: David Wheeler
Visitors: Eleven. Tomorrow, please park in the third field lot or at the bottom of the hill, then walk up to the north lookout. 

Weather: Strong winds were mostly from the west northwest, with mostly sunny skies and temperatures in the thirties to low forties. 

Raptor Observations: There was a good Turkey Vulture flight, and one Black Vulture passed this morning. Local kestrels (and possible stopover migrants) were very active, hunting in the south lookout fields. An Osprey pair continues to be hard at work building their nest on the cell tower. 

Non-raptor Observations: One Sandhill Crane was seen.

Forecast: Tomorrow looks like it is going to be an excellent day, with light
southerly winds, partly cloudy skies, and temperatures climbing to the low
sixties by early afternoon! It is likely to be a diverse, strong flight,
with good numbers of red-tails, sharpies, and Turkey Vultures taking
advantage of the good thermalling conditions. There is also a chance of
seeing our first few broad-wings in the next couple of days.

Friday, April 7, 2017

No count was conducted today

Weather: Rain, snow, and strong northwest winds.

Forecast: Strong northwest winds and mostly sunny skies are expected tomorrow as high pressure approaches. The sunshine should bring out some birds that have been backed up. It could be a decent to very good Turkey Vulture day, depending on how many are currently in the pipeline. Given some of the massive off-wind flights we have had this season, my hope is that the sunshine will encourage birds to move, regardless of windspeed and direction.

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Thursday, April 6, 2017

Observation start time: 7:00 a.m.
Observation end time: 2:15 p.m.
Total observation time: 7.25 hours
Official Counter: Anna Stunkel
Observers: Bill Purcell, Dave Fitch, Wayne Fidler
Visitors: Four 

Weather: There was much less rain than predicted today, with just a few on and off showers for most of the day. Strong winds were from the east southeast, and skies were overcast. A band of heavy rain moved in during the afternoon, which shut things down.

Raptor Observations: Turkey Vultures got started early, with a nice little burst of them in the morning. I hope there is enough carrion to feed all of these birds on their breeding grounds! One tailless Turkey Vulture passed by today. There were some excellent views of rough-legs flying close past the lookout. 

Non-raptor Observations: The first Caspian Tern of the season was seen, and 45 Northern Flickers were on the move.

Forecast: There is probably going to be freezing rain and snow for most of tomorrow, but if precipitation is light at times there could be some birds powering through, especially Turkey Vultures. Moderate west winds in the morning will quickly switch over to strong west northwesterly. Temperatures will only reach the high thirties. Saturday should be much better due to the sun coming out. Sunday and Monday have potential for some more huge flights. Mostly sunny skies and temperatures in the sixties and seventies (!) are expected on these days. Light south southeasterly winds are in the forecast for Sunday, and moderate south southwesterly winds are expected on Monday. Both days should be excellent, and there is potential for getting our first few broad-wings in the approaching warm bubble. If you’re feeling chilly tomorrow, just remember that we have something to look forward to!

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Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Observation start time: 6:30 a.m.
Observation end time: 5:00 p.m.
Total observation time: 10.5 hours
Official Counter: Anna Stunkel
Observers: Bill Purcell, Dave Fitch, David Wheeler, Kevin McGann, Peter Davidson, Wayne Fidler
Visitors: Many. Thank you to all for your help with spotting birds. 

Weather: Moderate winds started out from the west, soon becoming west northwesterly and then northerly in the evening. Skies were overcast for most of the day, becoming partly cloudy during the last few hours of the count.

Raptor Observations: There was a fantastic Turkey Vulture flight today! Birds started early, and continued moving at a strong pace for much of the day. Movement peaked between ~10 am- 1 pm EST. Three Black Vultures were another highlight, and the first two birds were flying together. A good number of red-tails were also mixed in among the vultures. This evening, an Osprey was seen inspecting the cell tower and bringing several sticks up to begin building its nest.

Non-raptor Observations: A FOS Savannah Sparrow was flitting around next to the south lookout, and Tree Swallows were very active today, with several hundred of them in the vicinity. 

Forecast: The forecast does not look great for tomorrow at this point, with a low pressure system bringing significant rainfall for most of the day. However, there is a chance of some breaks in the rain or lighter showers, especially during the morning. If this happens, we could have some good flights in between the precipitation. This is especially true considering that strong east southeasterly winds are predicted. Temperatures will be in the mid forties. Keep an eye on the forecast and the radar, as things could change to work in our favor. There could also be a songbird fallout tomorrow morning.

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Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Observation start time: 6:00 a.m.
Observation end time: 4:30 p.m.
Total observation time: 10.5 hours
Official Counter: Anna Stunkel, Gerry Smith
Observers: Bill Purcell, David Wheeler, Gerry Smith, Peter Davidson
Visitors: Five. Thank you to Gerry for covering the morning count. 

Weather: It drizzled on and off today, but there was much less precipitation than the forecast had predicted last night. A few bouts of heavier rain occurred during the morning and late afternoon. Skies were overcast, with moderate south southeasterly winds switching to west southwesterly in the evening.

Raptor Observations: There were strong flights of several species today, including Ospreys, harriers, sharpies, and kestrels. Most birds were flying low and quickly past the lookout. It turned out to be a surprisingly excellent day for diversity and numbers, thanks to the light and sporadic nature of the rain. There were two big bursts of Turkey Vulture movement in the afternoon, but they didn’t last for long.

Non-raptor Observations: There was a very strong blackbird flight this morning, with thousands of grackles and Red-winged Blackbirds on the move. Other highlights included:

14 Horned Larks
8 Belted Kingfishers
4 Greater Yellowlegs
2 Lesser Yellowlegs
2 Sandhill Cranes
2 Barn Swallows (FOS)

Forecast: Tomorrow has potential for a massive morning clean-up flight of Turkey Vultures in the early morning hours. Braddock Bay had a gigantic flight today, and these birds might make it to us tomorrow. There is always a disclaimer with my predictions, as the birds might move inland (hopefully not). Moderate west winds will switch to west northwest in the afternoon, with cloudy skies in the morning and partly sunny skies in the afternoon. Increasing sun could bring a decent flight of buteos.

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Monday, April 3, 2017

Observation start time: 7:00 a.m.
Observation end time: 6:15 p.m.
Total observation time: 11.25 hours
Official Counter: Anna Stunkel
Observers: Bill Purcell, David Wheeler, Kevin McGann, Peter Davidson,
Phil Taylor, Wayne Fidler
Visitors: Many. Thank you to all for the help spotting birds, and for the good
company and snacks.

Weather: It was mostly cloudy throughout the day, but the thicker morning cloud cover broke up in the afternoon and we had some sun. Temperatures reached a balmy 59 F in the afternoon, and light winds were from the southeast and east southeast. 

Raptor Observations: In the morning, I began to worry as birds were only moving through at a trickle, and we were all hoping for a gigantic flight. When the afternoon hit, along with its warmth and sunshine peeking from behind the clouds, our wishes were granted and a very nice movement of Turkey Vultures, buteos, and other species began. The flight peaked during mid to late afternoon, with massive groups of vultures on the move. Diversity was excellent today, with all 15 typically possible raptor and vulture species present (including one evening Black Vulture). Sharp-shinned Hawk and Osprey numbers were on the increase today, with a nice total of kestrels as well.

Non-raptor Observations: There was a strong flight of Red-winged Blackbirds and Common Grackles today, especially during the morning and evening. Many of these birds were very high during the morning hours. At least a few Rusty Blackbirds passed by. FOS Wood Frogs were calling in the evening, and at least two male woodcocks were displaying near the north lookout. Other highlights included:

40+ Great Blue Herons
28+ Common Loons
21 Double-crested Cormorants
6 Belted Kingfishers
6 Wilson’s Snipe
2 Barn Swallows (FOS)

Forecast: Tomorrow will probably be a washout. Moderate southeast winds and warm temperatures in the mid fifties are predicted, but breaks in the rain are unlikely. There could be a passerine fallout tomorrow morning, with potentially large numbers of sparrows in the hedgerows.

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Sunday, April 2, 2017

Observation start time: 6:45 a.m.
Observation end time: 6:00 p.m.
Total observation time: 11.25 hours
Official Counter: Anna Stunkel
Observers: Bill Purcell, David Wheeler, Judy Thurber, Wayne Fidler
Visitors: Many, including the Onondaga Audubon field trip led by David Wheeler. Thank you to all who came out to help and enjoy the flight. Thanks to Wayne for keeping an early morning count of birds, and to Rosemary for the cookies!

Weather: Light winds started off from the west southwest, eventually switching to westerly and then stronger west northwesterly as the lake breeze took over. Temperatures were relatively mild, reaching the high forties. Skies were partly cloudy for most of the day, with a clearer period during early afternoon. 

Raptor Observations: There was a massive Turkey Vulture flight today, with birds getting started early and continuing to move all day at a strong pace. There was also a great red-shoulder flight during the beginning of the count, and a nice red-tail and Bald Eagle flight later on.

 Non-raptor Observations: Ten Sandhill Cranes were seen today, including a single flock of eight birds flying together this afternoon. A tailless Ring-billed Gull flew by. The first Spring Peepers of the season were heard calling from the south lookout this evening. Other sightings included:

 6 American Pipits (FOS)
4 Double-crested Cormorants (FOS)
2 Common Loons
1 Barred Owl calling

 Forecast: All signs point to an incredible flight tomorrow, with thousands of birds likely. Temperatures will be in the low forties to high fifties, with light to moderate east southeasterly winds. Mostly cloudy skies are expected, but there should be some sun in the afternoon. These warm temperatures and winds should be perfect for bringing in a large number of birds, and will hopefully result in some great diversity. We are due for a Black Vulture or two. Blackbirds, robins, and swallows should be on the move as well, with potential for a big morning flight. See you at the north lookout!

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Saturday, April 1, 2017

Observation start time: 8:00 a.m.
Observation end time: 2:00 p.m.
Total observation time: 6 hours
Official Counter: Anna Stunkel
Observers: Dave Fitch, Peter Davidson
Visitors: Three 

Weather: Moderate winds were mostly from the north northeast, with cloudy skies. Skies were bright in the morning, but thicker cloud cover, drizzle, and eventual fog moved in during the afternoon.

 Raptor Observations: There was a nice Turkey Vulture flight this morning, although few hawks were on the move. Drizzle shut down the flight in the afternoon.

Non-raptor Observations: A few hundred Snow Geese were moving, with several blue geese mixed among the flocks.

Forecast: Moderate west northwesterly winds and partly cloudy skies are in the forecast for tomorrow. Temperatures will be in the low to high forties. The sunshine and warmth should certainly bring us birds, and it’s likely to be a good flight, especially following two rainy and cloudy days. Monday has the potential to be really good, with east southeasterly winds and temperatures possibly reaching sixty. There should also be a strong blackbird and robin flight on Monday morning.

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Friday, March 31, 2017

Observation start time: 10:15 a.m.
Observation end time: 12:00 p.m.
Total observation time: 1.75 hours
Official Counter: Anna Stunkel
Observers:
Visitors:

Weather: Drizzle/rain all day, and strong southeasterly winds.

Raptor Observations: I counted for a short period when the drizzle was at its lightest, but nothing much was going on. At least I had a nice view of two Ospreys (one of which appeared to be milling around, fishing over the lake).

Non-raptor Observations: Many robins were singing joyously and pulling up worms on the lawn. The feeders were also quite busy. 

Forecast: Cloudy skies and light to moderate north northwesterly winds are expected tomorrow. Temperatures should be in the mid to high thirties, and high pressure will build gradually over the course of the day. Given the large flights that have happened over the previous two days, it is difficult to predict what will happen tomorrow. Birds that were waiting during the rain may take the opportunity to move, but the flight will depend upon how many raptors are in the area and the lag time following this rain. Buteo movement might be stalled by the cloud cover and temperatures, but there could be at least a decent number of Turkey Vultures, harriers, and/or falcons moving. Sunday looks better, with warmer temperatures and some sun, and Monday could be quite good, with a warm front on the way and east southeasterly winds.

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Thursday, March 30, 2017

Observation start time: 7:30 a.m.
Observation end time: 4:30 p.m.
Total observation time: 9 hours
Official Counter: Anna Stunkel
Observers: Bill Purcell, Dave Fitch, David Wheeler, Judy Thurber, Kevin McGann, Peter Davidson, Wayne Fidler 

Visitors: Many. It was great to have the Hawk Mountain intern group return for another good flight. Thank you to Dave Fitch and Judy for the refreshments, and to all who helped spot birds!

Weather: Light winds were variable, with a northerly component throughout most of the day. In the evening, the light breeze switched over to southwesterly. Windspeed picked up slightly as the count progressed, then it died back down. Skies were mostly cloudy, although there was a brief morning period of clearing. Cloud cover thickened later in the afternoon. 

Raptor Observations: It was another stellar day, with Turkey Vultures and buteos on the move at a strong pace. There was also a push of Bald and Golden Eagle movement during the late morning and early afternoon. We had a very easily viewed flight line for much of the day, with birds right over our heads in a steady stream. Birds got higher during the middle portion of the count, but were still readily visible against the backdrop of thin clouds. Later on in the day, birds were pushed inland and most visible raptors were distant specks on the horizon. A significant flight still seemed to be happening to our south, but birds were difficult to see out there. An almost completely white leucistic red-tail was a highlight of the day; this bird passed in the morning and appeared to only have a few spots of pigment in its plumage. It was adult-like in shape. We also had a nice view of a goshawk flying over. 

Non-raptor Observations: Highlights included four Sandhill Cranes, two Fox Sparrows (FOS), at least one Lapland Longspur, one White-throated Sparrow (FOS), and one Coyote. There was a nice blackbird flight this morning, with many Common Grackles moving through. 

Forecast: Unfortunately it looks like tomorrow will be a washout, with little to no breaks in the rain all day. Strong east southeasterly winds are predicted, with highs only in the mid thirties. A few Turkey Vultures and harriers might power through it, but there is unlikely to be much of anything happening. Looking on the bright side of things, this might cause a backup of birds and bring us some more busy days after the weather passes.

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Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Observation start time: 8:00 a.m.
Observation end time: 6:00 p.m.
Total observation time: 10 hours
Official Counter: Anna Stunkel
Observers: Bill Purcell, David Wheeler, Wayne Fidler

Visitors: Many. Thank you to all who stopped by and helped out, including the group from Hawk Mountain- I look forward to seeing you all again tomorrow. 

Weather: Moderate winds were generally from the northwest, with mostly cloudy skies and a few periods of clearing. During the first hour of the count, there was very little cloud cover.

Raptor Observations: What an incredible day! There was a very strong flight of Turkey Vultures, red-tails, and red-shoulders. Turkey Vultures got going about fifteen minutes after I arrived at the south lookout, followed by large kettles of buteos. Most of the buteos were adults, with a small number of juveniles mixed in. Birds stayed relatively low, and were probably kept down by the wind. Much of the flight came through this morning. The first Northern Goshawk of the season was seen today.

Non-raptor Observations: A swan landed on the small pond at the south lookout this evening, which sparked debate about whether it was a Tundra or Trumpeter Swan. Further analysis of photographs may allow a positive ID. Other observations included: 

4 Sandhill Cranes
1 Common Loon
1 Pine Siskin 

Forecast: Light, variable winds with a northerly component are expected throughout the day tomorrow. Winds should be more northeasterly in the morning and northwesterly in the afternoon. Skies will start out partly cloudy, with increasing cloud cover in the afternoon. Although the flight will depend upon bird supply, it could be another very good day, especially for a Turkey Vulture flight. Decreased windspeed and partly cloudy skies in the morning should allow for some good thermal development, so birds will probably be higher.

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Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Observation start time: 7:00 a.m.
Observation end time: 4:30 p.m.
Total observation time: 7.75 hours
Official Counter: Anna Stunkel
Observers: Peter Davidson, Wayne Fidler
Visitors: Six. Thank you to Wayne for keeping a count of early morning birds and watching the skies while I moved between lookouts. 

Weather: The morning started off with cloudy but bright skies and a light southerly breeze. A few hours into the count, winds switched to northwesterly and thick fog rolled in, eventually suspending the count. Luckily, the fog lifted just as quickly as it rolled in, at around 2:00 pm EST. Afternoon wind speed picked up, with a chill to the gusts, and winds were from the north northwest.

Raptor Observations: We had a great Turkey Vulture flight today, which came in very concentrated bursts. Most of these birds passed over in a short window of time between 9-10 am EST. There was also a very impressive red-shoulder flight during this hour. After the fog rolled out, a smaller second wave of Turkey Vultures came through, and I enjoyed watching some rough-legs and harriers hunting in the south lookout fields. The first juvenile red-shoulder of the season flew by this morning.

Non-raptor Observations: Many Song Sparrows arrived overnight, and they added their cheery voices to the lookouts today. At least two FOS Eastern Phoebes were also seen.

Forecast: Moderate north northwesterly winds and partly cloudy skies are predicted for tomorrow, with wind speed increasing as the day progresses. The approaching high pressure system should bring a gradual clearing of clouds in the afternoon. It has been awhile since we’ve seen much sun here, and this change in the weather could produce a decent red-tail flight if winds aren’t too strong. This seems especially likely considering that few red-tails have been seen so far, and there should be birds that have been waiting to move. Conditions also bode well for a potentially large Turkey Vulture flight.

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Monday, March 27, 2017

Observation start time: 8:30 a.m.
Observation end time: 5:30 p.m.
Total observation time: 9 hours
Official Counter: Anna Stunkel
Observers: Bill Purcell, Dave Fitch, David Wheeler, Joe Brin, Judy Thurber, Ken Burdick, Kevin McGann, Peter Davidson, Wayne Fidler
Visitors: Many. Thank you to Wayne for keeping track of non-raptor migrants, to Andy and Pete for the delicious food, and to all who came over to help out and enjoy the migration.

 Weather: Skies were overcast, with light, generally southeasterly winds andtemperatures ranging from the high thirties to high forties. There wereoccasional sprinkles on and off throughout the day, but thankfully most ofthe time it was not raining.

 Raptor Observations: It was another great day, with most birds flying low and close. We had another good flight of red-shoulders, with surprisingly few red-tails. Cooper’s Hawks were moving again, with sharpies also making an appearance. Many of the day’s kestrels flew over in a short window of time this afternoon, following a rain shower. The first Osprey of the season passed by.

Non-raptor Observations: Phenomenal non-raptor movement occurred again today. Wayne came over at dawn and kept a count throughout the day. Highlights included:

 33,429 Snow Geese
7,133 American Robins
5,484 Red-winged Blackbirds
2,348 European Starlings
1,260 Canada Geese
946 American Crows
800 Common Grackles
165 Horned Larks
101 Killdeer
92 Northern Pintails
91 Mourning Doves
43 Great Blue Herons
23 Tree Swallows
22 Eastern Meadowlarks
6 Ross’s Geese
3 Tundra Swans
2 Sandhill Cranes
1 Cackling Goose
1 Northern Flicker (FOS)

Forecast: Light winds are expected to be southerly in the morning, and will then switch over to northwesterly in the afternoon while increasing slightly in speed. It may be foggy in the morning, with cloudy skies throughout the ay. Temperatures will be in the mid forties. There should be some birds moving through, although it probably won’t be as busy as the past couple of days. However, reports from nearby hawkwatch sites show that there are many Turkey Vultures on the move, so some of those birds could produce a decent flight tomorrow.

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Sunday, March 26, 2017

Observation start time: 9:00 a.m.
Observation end time: 6:00 p.m.
Total observation time: 9 hours
Official Counter: Anna Stunkel
Observers: Bill Purcell, David Wheeler, Peter Davidson
Visitors: Eight. Thank you to Bill for helping me keep track of today’s non-raptor flights.

Weather: Moderate to strong winds were from the east southeast, with overcast skies and temperatures ranging from freezing to the low forties. There were a few sprinkles in the afternoon, but it was mostly a dry day after the earlier morning rain ended.

Raptor Observations: It was an unforgettable day in terms of diversity, numbers, and close looks at birds! Most raptors were flying very low, which provided us with stunning views. Red-shoulders and Cooper’s Hawks especially put on a great show, with many of them moving through today. Harriers and rough-legs became active in the afternoon, with a nice flight of these species. Some of the many highlights included several low Golden Eagles, a dark morph rough-leg right over our heads, a close and full-cropped peregrine zipping by, and several spurts of concentrated Turkey Vulture movement.

 Non-raptor Observations: There were incredible flights of several species today. Sightings included:

 ~14,100 Snow Geese, most of which were streaming out over the lake this morning
~4,400 American Robins (including one leucistic robin with beautiful piebald plumage)
~930 Canada Geese
106 Killdeer
42 Great Blue Herons
37 Snow Buntings
4 Tree Swallows
3 Eastern Meadowlarks (FOS)
3 Sandhill Cranes, which flew very low over the hill

Forecast: Considering the movement that happened today, tomorrow could be even better if we don’t get too much rain. Light to moderate south southeast winds are in the forecast, and it is going to be warmer, with temperatures in the low forties to low fifties. There is a slight chance of some showers, but hopefully this will not amount to much. Bring on the birds!

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Saturday, March 25, 2017

Observation start time: 10:30 a.m.
Observation end time: 5:30 p.m.
Total observation time: 7 hours
Official Counter: Anna Stunkel
Observers: Wayne Fidler
Visitors: Two. Thank you again to Rosemary for the delicious cookies! These will be available for all to snack on tomorrow.

 Weather: There was rain and sleet throughout the morning and into early afternoon. The rain cleared out nicely at ~12:15 pm EST. Winds were generally light and from the northeast this morning, switching to northerly and becoming stronger in the afternoon. When the rain stopped, skies remained overcast for several hours, and then some of the cloud cover broke up late this afternoon. Temperatures ranged from freezing to the upper thirties.

 Raptor Observations: When the rain stopped, there was a little burst of Turkey Vulture movement, followed by another evening burst. A pair of kestrels seems to be setting up on their territory in the south lookout fields. We also saw a red-tail carrying a stick, and watched it land on a new partially built nest on the other side of the fields.

 Non-raptor Observations: Seven Wild Turkeys crossed the road close to the south lookout. Three Great Blue Herons migrated past- quite a contrast compared to yesterday. A Barred Owl was heard calling for the first time this season.

Forecast: Tomorrow has potential for a good flight, but this will depend on whether the approaching warm front reaches us in time. Moderate east southeast winds are predicted, with overcast skies and temperatures ranging from the low thirties to low forties. It would be better if the expected temperatures were warmer, but there should be some birds moving, especially Turkey Vultures and falcons. There is a slight chance of showers in the afternoon. I should be at the north lookout all day; please park in the lower lot at the bottom of the hill and walk up.

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Friday, March 24, 2017

Observation start time: 9:00 a.m.
Observation end time: 6:00 p.m.
Total observation time: 9 hours
Official Counter: Anna Stunkel
Observers: Bill Purcell, David Wheeler, Kevin McGann, Wayne Fidler
Visitors: Two 

Weather: The first hour and a half of the count was rainy, but the drizzle cleared out nicely after that. However, low cloud cover persisted throughout the day, and the warm front did not make its way to Derby Hill in time to produce the flight that I was hoping for. Winds were light to moderate and variable, often from the south southeast.

Raptor Observations: It was very slow, although there was a nice little flight of small falcons. Many of today’s birds were flying low over the lake.

 Non-raptor Observations: Despite the slow raptor flight, it was an excellent day to see other birds. We had an incredible flight of 145 Great Blue Herons today! These birds came through in a slow but steady stream throughout the day, often over the lake, in groups of 2-9. Killdeer were also on the move, with 73 individuals counted. A Cackling Goose, spotted by Dave Wheeler, was another highlight. One FOS Tree Swallow was seen late in the day. There was a good flight of several hundred American Robins this afternoon.

Forecast: Rain is predicted for the morning and early afternoon tomorrow, along with light northerly winds switching to north northwesterly. Skies will probably be overcast all day. Unfortunately, these conditions do not bode well for a good flight. There is a slow moving front that is currently stalled over our area, and it should move south of us and then return as a warm front on Sunday and Monday. As long as cloud cover is not too thick and there is not too much rain, this could bring us some birds. It is getting late enough into the month that when we do get our first big day, it ought to be huge, with 3000+ birds likely. Significant warming on Monday and Tuesday should help our chances of this happening in the near future.

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Thursday, March 23, 2017


Observation start time: 9:00 a.m.
Observation end time: 5:00 p.m.
Total observation time: 8 hours
Official Counter: Anna Stunkel
Observers: Bill Purcell, Dave Fitch, Peter Davidson
Visitors: Two 

Weather: The morning started off with light northwesterly winds, which became a bit stronger and more west northwesterly in the afternoon. Skies were clear, and it was a pleasant day to be out hawkwatching. Temperatures ranged from slightly below to slightly above freezing.

Raptor Observations: Mostly Turkey Vultures were moving today, slowly teetering their way low over the trees to the east. Most of the red-tails took higher flight paths. A beautifully patterned fourth year Bald Eagle, a dark morph rough-leg, and a peregrine were highlights of the day.

Non-raptor Observations: A flock of 29 Snow Buntings went by late this afternoon.
Forecast: Freezing rain is predicted for tomorrow morning, which will turn to rain as it warms up to the low forties in the afternoon. The chance of precipitation will diminish as the day progresses, but it is likely to be raining for most of the day. Moderate south southeasterly winds are also in the forecast, which will switch to southerly in the afternoon. Thanks to the wind direction and approaching warm front, I think that there is good potential for movement in the afternoon, especially if we have some breaks in the rain.

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Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Observation start time: 9:00 a.m.
Observation end time: 1:00 p.m.
Total observation time: 4 hours
Official Counter: Anna Stunkel
Observers:
Visitors: 

Weather: Very cold, with strong northerly winds and partly cloudy skies.

 Raptor Observations: Not much, but at least I had a great look at a rough-leg.

 Non-raptor Observations: I witnessed a reminder of the dangers of plastics today (thank goodness this has a happy ending). A Canada Goose landed near the south lookout with some kind of plastic stuck around its bill, and spent quite awhile shaking its head and trying to remove it. The goose could fly and would have been impossible to catch by hand. Luckily, the plastic eventually blew off of the goose’s bill and I breathed a sigh of relief!

Forecast: Tomorrow could be a decent day, but this will likely depend upon whether Turkey Vultures are feeling ready to go. 5-10 mph winds should start off from the northwest, becoming west northwesterly in the afternoon. The morning will be cold again, with temperatures in the twenties, but it will warm up to the low thirties in the afternoon. This warming will hopefully bring an increase in activity (and species diversity) as the day progresses. Clear skies and light winds will probably result in birds flying high once it warms up. Looking forward, Friday could be good (as long as precipitation is not too heavy), with moderate south southeasterly winds. The forecast also sounds good (finally!) for the early part of next week.

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Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Observation start time: 9:00 a.m.
Observation end time: 4:30 p.m.
Total observation time: 7.5 hours
Official Counter: Anna Stunkel
Observers: Kevin McGann, Peter Davidson
Visitors: One 

Weather: Light winds started out from the southwest, but quickly switched around tomainly west northwesterly. Windspeed picked up a bit in the afternoon, and then died down again. Skies were overcast in the morning, becoming partly cloudy in the afternoon and then nearly clear. Temperatures ranged from just above freezing to the low forties. 

Raptor Observations: The morning started off slow, but Turkey Vulture movement picked up nicely as the sun began to come out. A few other species were moving, but most of the flight was composed of vultures. I had a nice look at a Merlin and a red-shoulder late this afternoon. 

Non-raptor Observations: Eleven Horned Larks and three Great Blue Herons flew over.

Forecast: Strong northwest winds and plunging temperatures (in the teens and low twenties) are expected tomorrow as a cold front moves in. A few snow flurries are possible in the morning, with an eventual breakup in cloud cover in the afternoon. A few Turkey Vultures might be on the move, but it’s unlikely that much else will be going on. These cold temperatures should only last for a couple of days before more ideal, spring like weather moves in. I will probably be at the south lookout all day.

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Monday, March 20, 2017

Observation start time: 8:00 a.m.
Observation end time: 3:30 p.m.
Total observation time: 7.5 hours
Official Counter: Anna Stunkel
Observers: Bill Purcell, Dave Fitch, Joe Brin, Ken Burdick, Phil Taylor
Visitors: Three 

Weather: There was a light southerly breeze this morning, which eventually became more southwesterly and then westerly. In the afternoon, it was almost dead calm. Thick cloud cover persisted throughout the day, with chilly morning temperatures increasing to the low forties this afternoon.

Raptor Observations: Slow as a slug (the sequel). 

Non-raptor Observations: There was a nice morning flight of American Crows, with estimated numbers in the low hundreds. A raven flew over carrying a very large stick, headed eastwards this afternoon.

Forecast: Cloudy skies, a chance of morning showers, and moderate westerly winds are predicted for tomorrow. I am not expecting much raptor activity. Later in the week, after Wednesday’s Arctic front passes, we could have some improvement in flight conditions; stay tuned.

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Sunday, March 19, 2017

Observation start time: 8:00 a.m.
Observation end time: 3:00 p.m.
Total observation time: 7 hours
Official Counter: Anna Stunkel, Gerry Smith
Observers: Judy Thurber, Kevin McGann
Visitors: Two 

Weather: Light winds were mostly from the north, and windspeed became slightly stronger as the day went on. Skies were cloudy in the morning, but quickly cleared.

Raptor Observations: A few Turkey Vultures were moving. Several local red-tails and Bald Eagles were very active but it was clear that most individuals of these species were lollygagging about, not migrating.

Non-raptor Observations: Several hundred Canada Geese were hanging around in the south lookout farm fields, with a few Snow Geese mixed in. Most of the geese seemed to be resting and feeding today, and there was little movement happening.

Forecast: Light winds should start out from the south southwest, eventually becoming west southwesterly and then westerly. Overcast skies and temperatures in the low to high thirties are predicted. It would be better if skies were clear and temperatures warmer, but a few raptors should be on the move. It will likely be a north lookout morning, with a possible transition to the south lookout in the afternoon depending on the flight.

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Saturday, March 18, 2017

Observation start time: 9:00 a.m.
Observation end time: 3:00 p.m.
Total observation time: 6 hours
Official Counter: Anna Stunkel
Observers: Bill Purcell, Dave Fitch
Visitors: Eight. To whoever left the delicious cookies on my front porch, thank you so much! You’re the best, and I’d love to thank you in person sometime! 🙂

Weather: Snowfall to our west and south was the likely culprit that kept birds from us today. Skies were overcast, with moderate winds varying between easterly and east southeasterly. There was a brief snow shower this afternoon.

Raptor Observations: Slow as a slug.

Non-raptor Observations: A Bohemian Waxwing was the highlight of the day, and it hung around for several minutes flying from perch to perch.

Forecast: Although it’s still likely to be slow, tomorrow’s forecast looks better than today turned out to be. Initially cloudy skies should give way to more sun as the day progresses. Light winds should start off from the east northeast, becoming slightly stronger and northwesterly in the afternoon. Temperatures should be in the mid thirties. Hopefully a few birds will be passing the south lookout.

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Friday, March 17, 2017

 Observation start time: 9:00 a.m.
Observation end time: 3:00 p.m.
Total observation time: 6 hours
Official Counter: Anna Stunkel
Observers: Bill Purcell
Visitors: One. When visiting the north lookout this weekend, please park in the lot at the bottom of the hill.

Weather: Light winds were generally from the north northwest, with clear skies and temperatures reaching the mid thirties.

 Raptor Observations: There was a trickle of birds- mostly Turkey Vultures and red-tails. Thereflection of the light off of the snow brought out the bright whites, contrasts, and subtle details in birds’ plumage.

 Non-raptor Observations: Several thousand Canada and Snow Geese were moving southwards. Other observations included:
40 Snow Buntings
19 Horned Larks
1 Great Blue Heron

Forecast: There should be a few birds moving tomorrow, with moderate east southeasterly winds in the forecast and a warm front coming our way. Still, temperatures should only reach the mid thirties. Mostly cloudy skies and intermittent snow showers are expected. It could be a decent day, especially if we have some breaks in the cloud cover.

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Thursday, March 16, 2017

Observation start time: 8:30 a.m.
Observation end time: 2:00 p.m.
Total observation time: 5.5 hours
Official Counter: Anna Stunkel
Observers: Dave Fitch
Visitors:

Weather: Moderate to strong winds were generally from the northwest, with mostly cloudy skies. Winds became gusty in the afternoon.

Raptor Observations: Not much. 

Non-raptor Observations: A beautiful Snowy Owl (possibly an adult male) was at the south lookout this morning, spotted by Dave! Twenty two Horned Larks and three Snow Buntings were also seen.

Forecast: Very light northwesterly winds and partly cloudy skies are expected tomorrow. Since the northwesterly winds will be light, hopefully there will be some birds moving. The south lookout parking lot is partially plowed for visitors.

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Monday, March 13, 2017

 Observation start time: 9:00 a.m.
Observation end time: 3:00 p.m.
Total observation time: 6 hours
Official Counter: Anna Stunkel
Observers: Bill Purcell, Ken Burdick
Visitors: Four 

Weather: Winds were very light and started off mainly from the east northeast, eventually becoming easterly and then northerly. Skies were overcast throughout the day, with cloud cover thickening in the afternoon. Again, it was very cold.

Raptor Observations: Although it was a very slow day, we had a great look at a subadult Golden Eagle.

Non-raptor Observations: ~2575 Snow Geese flew by, but many of them were moving southwards. Three tom Wild Turkeys were hanging out in the south lookout fields.

Forecast: Due to the winter storm that is predicted to dump heavy snow all day tomorrow, there is unlikely to be a count. A combination of the approaching storm system and lake effect snow could result in 12+ inches of accumulation. Stay safe and warm, everyone!

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Sunday, March 12, 2017

 Observation start time: 9:00 a.m.
Observation end time: 1:00 p.m.
Total observation time: 4 hours
Official Counter: Anna Stunkel
Observers:
Visitors: One

 Weather: Very cold, with moderate to strong winds varying between northnorthwesterly and west northwesterly. Skies were mostly cloudy.

 Raptor Observations: Much as I would have liked to count something, the only raptors seen were deemed local: at least one red-tail, one Cooper’s Hawk (which has been hanging out on the silo), and two Bald Eagles.

Non-raptor Observations:
~410 Snow Geese

Forecast: 5-10 mph north winds and overcast skies are predicted for tomorrow, with continuing chilly temperatures. Since the windspeed will be so light, hopefully a few birds will be moving through despite the northerly wind direction. I will probably be at the south lookout. A significant storm is expected to cause snowfall throughout much of Tuesday and Wednesday. At this point, it is looking like next weekend will be our next chance for some good migration weather. Still, we are waiting for our first significant Turkey Vulture flights, and these birds are known to fly in less-than-ideal conditions.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

No count was conducted

Weather: Very cold with strong northwest winds.

Forecast: More cold temperatures and moderate to strong northwest winds are predicted for tomorrow, with overcast skies. It’s likely to be a south lookout day, and there probably won’t be much happening.

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Friday, March 10, 2017

 Observation start time: 9:00 a.m.
Total observation time: 6 hours
Official Counter: Anna Stunkel
Observers:
Visitors: One

Weather: Strong winds were mostly from the west northwest, with partly cloudy skies.

Raptor Observations: Not much. A pair of red-tails has been hanging around the cell tower that’s visible from the south lookout, landing on it and doing courtship flights. Hopefully they will end up building a nest there.

Non-raptor Observations: A groundhog was scampering around near me. Could spring be on the way?

Forecast: Tomorrow is going to be very cold, with temperatures in the low to mid-teens. Strong west northwesterly winds are predicted again, with partly cloudy skies. There will probably be very little happening. It’s likely to be a south lookout day.

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Thursday, March 9, 2017

 Observation start time: 9:00 a.m.
Observation end time: 3:00 p.m.
Total observation time: 6 hours
Official Counter: Anna Stunkel
Observers:
Visitors:

 Weather: Strong winds were mainly from the west northwest, with a brief snow shower in the morning. The strong and gusty winds lasted throughout the count period. Temperatures were in the low thirties, with mostly cloudy skies. 

Raptor Observations: Not much, but a few Turkey Vultures didn’t mind the blustery wind.

 Non-raptor Observations:
~700 Snow Geese
5 Horned Larks

Forecast: Strong west northwesterly winds should continue tomorrow. Skies are expected to be partly cloudy, with more clouds moving in during the afternoon, and temperatures in the mid twenties. Bird activity will probably be slow under these conditions, although a few Turkey Vultures could be making their way through. It will probably be a south lookout day.

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Wednesday, March 8, 2017

 Observation start time: 9:00 a.m.
Observation end time: 3:00 p.m.
Total observation time: 6 hours
Official Counter: Anna Stunkel
Observers: Dave Fitch, David Wheeler, Judy Thurber, Kevin McGann
Visitors: Four 

Weather: Winds started off moderate and south southwesterly. In the afternoon, there was a switch to strong and gusty west southwesterly winds. Skies were partly cloudy, with temperatures in the forties and low fifties.

Raptor Observations: There was a good flight today. This included seven Golden Eagles. Birds started off relatively low, and gained altitude later in the day. Once winds really picked up speed late in the afternoon, the flight shut down.

Non-raptor Observations:
~4140 Snow Geese
>1000 American Crows
1 Great Blue Heron

Forecast: Strong westerly/west northwesterly winds are in the forecast for tomorrow. Temperatures will cool, with partly cloudy skies. There is unlikely to be much activity due to the return to wintry conditions and the strong winds with a northerly component. Most of the day will probably be spent at the south lookout.

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Tuesday, March 7, 2017

 Observation start time: 9:00 a.m.
Observation end time: 2:00 p.m.
Total observation time: 3.75 hours
Official Counter: Anna Stunkel
Observers:
Visitors: 

Weather: It drizzled on and off with some bursts of heavier rain. Moderate winds were mostly from the southeast.

Raptor Observations: One adult male Merlin buzzed by the feeders and kept going. A local adult Bald Eagle was the only other raptor seen.

Non-raptor Observations: ~1450 Snow Geese (including at least two blue geese) went by, mainly during the brief rainless period this afternoon.

Forecast: A few birds should be moving tomorrow. Strong southwest winds, cloudy skies, and a chance of showers are in the forecast. Winds will start off at a moderate speed, becoming stronger in the afternoon. Birds may be high due to the strong tailwind. It’s likely to be a north lookout day.

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Monday, March 6, 2017

 Observation start time: 8:30 a.m.
Observation end time: 4:45 p.m.
Total observation time: 8.25 hours
Official Counter: Anna Stunkel
Observers: Bill Purcell, David Wheeler, Judy Thurber, Ken Burdick, Mike Tetlow, Phil Taylor
Visitors: Many 

Weather: Unfortunately, my optimistic predictions did not hold out. It stayed quite cold and overcast throughout the morning, with moderate winds varying between easterly and south southeasterly. It warmed up late this afternoon with a bit of cloud cover breakup.

Raptor Observations: Despite the eventual warm-up and break in the clouds, the entire day was slow. Given the early date, this afternoon weather improvement probably just came too late in the day for birds to get going.

Non-raptor Observations: ~534 Snow Geese, 70 Ring-necked Ducks

Forecast: With rain in the forecast basically all day tomorrow, there is unlikely to be much going on. It is hard to predict when there will be breaks (if any) in the rain at this point, until I examine tomorrow’s radar. Moderate southeast winds are predicted. If cloud cover stays low with a lot of humidity in the air, it will pretty much be a washout day. If the skies brighten with some clearing of fog, there could be a trickle of birds between the rain bursts.

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Sunday, March 5, 2017 

Observation start time: 9:00 a.m.
Observation end time: 3:15 p.m.
Total observation time: 6.25 hours
Official Counter: Anna Stunkel
Observers:
Visitors: Three 

Weather: Winds were light and variable, often from the north northwest. Skies were mostly clear, with a few afternoon clouds. Temperatures were mainly in the teens and low twenties.

Raptor Observations: There was a slow trickle of birds today. This morning I enjoyed watching a rough-leg hunting in the south lookout fields. At least once, it pounced on a small rodent successfully.

Observations: Quite a few bluebirds were hanging around and brought good cheer to the day. Other sightings included:
~624 Snow Geese, including at least one blue goose
7 Common Mergansers
Forecast: Tomorrow looks like it will be a great day. Moderate southeast winds, overcast skies, and temperatures reaching up to fifty are predicted. Considering the less-than-ideal conditions that we’ve been having for the past few days, this sudden change should bring us a nice flight of birds. It’s likely to be a north lookout day.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

No count was conducted today.

Weather: Very cold, with winds mainly from the north northwest.

Forecast: Conditions will be good enough for a count to happen tomorrow, and a few birds should be moving. Variable and often north northwesterly winds are expected to be light, with clear skies. I may be moving between lookout sites, with most of the time spent at the south lookout. Monday looks like it will be a good day, with moderate southeast winds and a warm front coming this way.

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Friday, March 3, 2017

 Observation start time: 9:00 a.m.
Observation end time: 12:15 p.m.
Total observation time: 3.25 hours
Official Counter: Anna Stunkel
Observers:
Visitors: One human and one dog 

Weather: Winds were light and variable this morning, mainly from the west northwest.As the afternoon began, windspeed picked up and it began to snow. Skieswere mostly clear this morning, until cloud cover rapidly moved in a couple hours into the count. 

Raptor Observations: Not much, although a few birds were moving this morning. It was nice to see a rough-leg.

Observations: The morning started off slowly, but when the clouds broke up and wind-speed increased we had a very nice flight that mostly passed through in the late morning hours. Many of these birds passed low overhead, with a good number of red-tails (mostly adults), four Red-shouldered Hawks, and two Rough-legged Hawks (one dark morph and one light morph).

Non-raptor Observations: 350 Snow Geese, 4 Horned Larks

Forecast: It is going to be a very cold day tomorrow, with ~15 mph north northwest winds, 4-14 F temps, and partly cloudy skies. It will likely be a south lookout day. The forecast does not sound promising for much raptor movement beyond a trickle, but I am looking forward to Monday, when wind direction should shift to southeast with warming temperatures. This ought to bring more birds our way.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

No hawk count conducted today.

Weather: Very strong west northwest winds all day, with occasional snow showers in the morning.

Forecast: Northwesterly winds are predicted, starting off light in the morning and gradually increasing to 15-20 mph in the afternoon. Cloudy skies and a few late morning/afternoon snow showers are expected. Since windspeed will start off light, there should be a few morning birds tomorrow. The afternoon will probably be slow, and the count should be from the south lookout all day.

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Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Observation start time: 8:30 a.m.
Observation end time: 3:00 p.m.
Total observation time: 6.5 hours
Official Counter: Anna Stunkel
Observers: Bill Purcell, Joe Brin, Kevin McGann, Phil Taylor
Visitors: 6

Weather: Light N wind drifting to E. Full overcast eventually clearing at end of count. Cold. Falling barometer.

Raptor Observations: The morning started off with overcast skies, a light southerly breeze, and intermittent sprinkles. By a couple of hours into the count, wind-speed picked up to 15-20 mph with occasional strong gusts. Some of the cloud cover also broke up during late morning, and precipitation ceased. Temperature reached a balmy 68 F by noon! In the afternoon, clouds rolled back in, and wind shifted to southwesterly and then west northwesterly off of the lake. Showers also began again in the afternoon, and wind died down.

Observations: The morning started off slowly, but when the clouds broke up and wind-speed increased we had a very nice flight that mostly passed through in the late morning hours. Many of these birds passed low overhead, with a good number of red-tails (mostly adults), four Red-shouldered Hawks, and two Rough-legged Hawks (one dark morph and one light morph).

Non-raptor Observations: An American Crow with white across the base of its flight feathers passed by today. Other highlights included 3070 Snow Geese and one Horned Lark.

Next Day Forecast: Things are likely to slow down during the next few days, as more wintry conditions will set in following this afternoon’s cold front. There may be a dusting of snow early tomorrow morning, followed by a chilly day with strong west northwesterly winds. This is not an ideal forecast, but hopefully a few birds will be moving. The count will probably be at the south lookout all day.