Mount Peter Hawk Watch

       Compiler:  Judy Cinquina          Location      
 

2008 Report

11_Year_Summary                          10_Year_Average                         2008 Dailies                         2007 Report
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Near record Broad-winged Hawks and Bald Eagles brightened Mount Peterís 51st annual fall Hawk Watch between September 1 and November 16.  Otherwise, 2008 brought in below average numbers for all but Golden Eagle (5) and Peregrine Falcon (14).  Although our final tally of 12,302 raptors was our second best in 51 years, producing a hefty 32.70 hawks per hour, most were counted between September 10 and 20, leaving the remainder of our 63-day watch to garner only one 100+ day on October 30.

Inexplicably, Mount Peter was rewarded with the best Broad-wing count in our region, with the majority moving through on westerly winds between September 16 and 18.  On September 16, leader Ajit Antony wrote: The count picked up in the afternoon, with a high of 2,074 between 2:00 and 3:00 p.m. (EST).  ďThe largest kettle contained 450 hawks.  Many of the kettles were extremely distant and looked like finely ground pepper specks.Ē  4,222 were counted that day. The 10,548 recorded this season was very close to our record 10,944 Broad-wings tallied in 1971.  After showing well last fall, the Red-shoulders missed us this season with a very under par 34 recorded: 17 adult, 6 immature, and 11 unknown.  And Red-tailed Hawks failed to get going before our watch closed down, November 16.  Our best day, October 30, netted only 78 Red-tails.

Accipiters ignored our lookout this season. Sharp-shins barely managed to top 50 twice in October.  Their final tally of 785 was 29% below our 10-year average.  And Cooperís Hawks showed no better.  The 58 counted was 41% below our 10-year average.  Donald Leak recorded the only N. Goshawk, September 19.

 

American Kestrels brought in our lowest tally in 47 years!

American Kestrel, 1958 - 2008:  Annual Totals

And those lower tallies, recorded between 1958 and 1962, were a result of very limited cover at the lookout, not a lack of Kestrels.  A mere 69 were noted this season: 10 male, 17 female, and 43 unknown.  This seasonís 14 Merlins was unremarkable, but the 14 Peregrines recorded was above our 10-year average.

A below-average 116 Osprey passed Mount Peter this fall, the majority recorded between September 15 and 18 with the Broad-wings.  After an encouraging season in 2007, N. Harrier dropped below average once again with 42 noted: 8 male, 5 female, 19 immature, and 10 unknown.  Most of the males moved through October 20 through November 1.

A near-record 41 Bald Eagles migrated past our platform this fall: 19 adults, 21 immature, and 1 unknown.  Congratulations to Tom Millard for recording nine Bald Eagles on September 15 and breaking our daily Bald Eagle record.  One of two adults he spotted that day was carrying a fish.  Tomís new record is even more remarkable when you consider that just 22 years ago, we celebrated the first nine Bald Eagles ever spotted over our lookout in one season. We also observed five other Bald Eagles that turned up to taunt us and then went north and werenít counted: 3 adults and 2 immature. An average five Golden Eagles made our roster: 1 adult, 3 immature, and 1 unknown.

The most interesting non-raptor event this fall was the constant movement of Pine Siskins over the watch site, beginning October 14 (See data below).  Three unprecedented events also marked our 51st watch: 1) October 20 brought our first Great Cormorant past the lookout; 2) October 22 delivered 450-500 Double-crested Cormorants; and 3) October 29 rewarded Linda Peskac with 23 Common Loons.  Leaders counted 24 Ruby-throated Hummingbirds between September 1 and 21. The best Canada Goose count was the 847 scored by Carol Linguanti, October 17. The only Snow Geese passed over November 2 and 3 in two long skeins, respectively, but once again, Brant failed to show.  Not a Monarch year, out best day was September 20 with a mere 57 counted.  Local Common Ravens were almost a daily occurrence. Other interesting sightings included:

            September 2    Prairie Warbler

September 5    first Scarlet Tanager (others, 9/13, 9/16), Barn Swallow, Chimney Swift, and D.C.   Cormorant

            September 7    first Tree Swallows (44)

September 8    first Least Flycatcher (another 9/18), first Black-throated Green & Black & White   Warblers

September 10  first Great-crested Flycatcher (another 10/15), 2 Great Egrets, first Belted Kingfisher

September 13  Yellow Warbler, first Yellow-rumped Warbler

September 18  first Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (other sightings: 10/7, 10/20, and 11/2)

September 19  Eastern Wood Pewee

September 21  Black-throated Blue Warbler, first Blue-headed Vireo (another 10/20)

September 22  Lincoln Sparrow spotted by Ken Witkowski

September 30  Red-breasted Nuthatch

October 5        first Ruby-crowned Kinglet, first Palm Warbler, House Wren, E. Phoebe

October 11      first Purple Finch (others 10/21, 11/1, 11/2 and 11/3)

October 14      first Pine Siskins (6 large flocks of from 20-50 Siskins)

October 15      50 Pine Siskins, 80 D.C. Cormorants, first 2 C. Loons, 1 Blackpoll Warbler

October 17      80 Pine Siskins, 7 D.C. Cormorants, C. Loon

October 19      7 Pine Siskins

October 20      Chipping Sparrow, first Junco, first sighting of Winter Wren that stayed through 11/3

October 21      75 Pine Siskins

October 27      80 Pine Siskins, C. Loon

October 29      10 D.C. Cormorants

November 2    60 Pine Siskins

November 4    first White-throated Sparrow, Pine Siskins in 3 flocks of 15, 30 & 150

November 10  38 Pine Siskins, C. Loon

November 12  120 Pine Siskins, C. Loon

In its 51-year history, Mount Peter has been rewarded with volunteers who magically appear when needed. This year we welcome Denise Farrell and Beverly Robertson who helped fill some gaping holes in our schedule. And we are delighted to welcome back Don Leak, one of our veteran volunteers.  We were very appreciative of the volunteers who showed up for our clean up, September 1. A very big thank you to: Carole Baligh, Denise Farrell, Don Leak, Tom Millard, Beverly Robertson, Herb Stein, Gene Tappan, and Ken Witkowski.  A very special thanks goes to Tom Millard for not only overseeing the installation of new chicken wire around our viewing platform but also for putting up and taking down our platform box and to Ajit Antony for keeping us in the public eye by maintaining our hourly data at www.hawkcount.org.  We are indebted to the New York Department of Environmental Conservation for overseeing regular clean-up crews at the site, and to the Fyke Nature Association of Bergen County NJ for sponsoring the watch.  Mount Peter is the oldest, continually run, all-volunteer fall watch in the country.

11 Year Summary

11 YEAR SUMMARY OF AUTUMN HAWK COUNTS AT MOUNT PETER, N.Y.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SPECIES

1998

1999

2000

2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

2008

Black Vulture

68

23

4

42

6

58

44

83

20

26

51

Turkey Vulture

269

103

103

130

53

139

199

156

123

238

142

Osprey

132

232

98

106

187

180

121

130

164

208

116

Bald Eagle

13

18

24

10

24

19

24

32

25

42

41

N. Harrier

50

83

42

56

45

66

23

64

53

89

42

Sharp-shinned Hawk

1,076

1,304

1,050

1,232

682

1,181

754

1,222

1,205

1,303

785

Cooper's Hawk

130

103

95

98

63

90

86

153

67

109

58

N. Goshawk

7

1

4

5

2

4

1

4

1

3

1

Red-shouldered Hawk

53

67

31

33

37

43

24

30

65

88

34

Broad-winged Hawk

8,903

6,793

5,646

2,467

3,946

2,110

1,913

3,826

3,784

5,722

10,548

Red-tailed Hawk

358

545

199

421

249

905

339

716

249

396

345

Rough-legged Hawk

1

0

1

1

0

1

1

0

0

0

0

Golden Eagle

4

9

3

5

2

5

1

6

7

3

5

American Kestrel

184

344

187

209

201

167

78

152

184

186

69

Merlin

14

13

12

14

10

22

4

39

12

9

14

Peregrine Falcon

6

7

3

12

7

9

8

18

7

20

14

Unidentified Eagle

0

0

0

0

1

0

0

0

0

1

0

Unidentified Raptor

91

60

93

93

57

65

45

65

44

57

35

GRAND TOTAL

11,359

9,705

7,595

4,934

5,572

5,064

3,665

6,696

6,010

8,500

12,302

TOTAL HOURS

400

385

435

439

383

410

366

393

365

391

376

RAPTOR/HOUR

28.4

25.21

17.46

11.24

14.54

12.36

10.01

17.04

16.47

21.74

32.70

10 Year Average

MOUNT PETER FALL HAWKS:  1999-2008  10-YEAR AVERAGE

 

BV

TV

OS

BE

NH

SS

CH

NG

RS

BW

RT

RL

GE

AK

ML

PG

TOTAL

HRS

HWKS/HR

10-Year Avg.

37

151

156

23

57

1,101

99

3

47

4,511

438

0

5

189

13

8

6,910

397

17.45

Total 2008

51

142

116

41

42

785

58

1

34

10,548

345

0

5

69

14

14

12,302

376

32.7

 

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(Updated 12/26/2008)