Daily Hawk Count


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Saturday, September 21, 2019

By Jeremy Pallant and Paula Eberle

It was a hot one on the hill today and the raptors were on the move. The Saturday II team had a busy day on the hill, with our total number of raptor sightings approaching 500. We were lucky enough to see ten species, including three species of falcon. Three Merlins were seen from the hill today, and there were also sightings of Peregrine Falcons and American Kestrels of both sexes. Other highlights from the day include two Osprey, two juvenile Red-shouldered Hawks and several juvenile Northern Harriers. All in all, it was a solid day of counting and the Saturday II team was kept on our toes all day long after being fogged out during the first two cycles. Best of luck to all of the hawk watchers as peak ramps up!

Total Sightings: 493
Hours Counted: 5.92
HPH: 83.28
Total Species: 10

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 109
Osprey: 2
Northern Harrier: 5
Sharp-shinned Hawk: 74
Cooper's Hawk: 114
Red-shouldered Hawk: 2
Red-tailed Hawk: 157
American Kestrel: 8
Merlin: 3
Peregrine Falcon: 4

Accipiter: 12
Buteo: 1
Raptor: 2
Total unidentified: 15

Friday, September 20, 2019

By Paula Eberle & Taylor Barnes

Today held clear skies across the bay, giving the Friday II team a warm and wonderful day up on Hawk Hill. Starting off strong, the team saw a Merlin around 9:45 that flew right over the top of the hill and then dove after some prey! While it did not catch what it was aiming for, it was exciting to see the fierce little hunter in action. An adult Red-shouldered Hawk was seen flying low in the North Quadrant, with its vibrant red body and stark black-and-white patterning on its wings. The most exciting bird of the day, however, was an adult Swainson's Hawk. It flew right over the silhouettes, giving the whole team a clear view of the bird's dark flight feathers and dark bib. Hoping for another great day tomorrow!

Total Sightings: 343
Hours Counted: 5.83
HPH: 58.83
Total Species: 11

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 117
Osprey: 3
Northern Harrier: 7
Sharp-shinned Hawk: 34
Cooper's Hawk: 57
Red-shouldered Hawk: 6
Broad-winged Hawk: 1
Swainson's Hawk: 1
Red-tailed Hawk: 100
American Kestrel: 1
Merlin: 3

Accipiter: 6
Buteo: 1
Raptor: 6
Total unidentified: 13

Thursday, September 19, 2019

By Jeremy Pallant and Maggie Brown

It was a gorgeous day on Hawk Hill – great visibility, temperatures in the 60s and 70s, and a slight breeze. Because of the excellent conditions, we had plenty of neat avian visitors, both raptor and non-raptor. Our very first sighting of the day was a White-tailed Kite, which hung out for a few minutes over Middle Kingdom before making a very close pass over the hill. It ended up being the first of four kites we saw today, all of which came in relatively close to the hill, much to the delight of the Thursday II hawkwatchers. Later in the morning, we got a terrific view of two adult Peregrine Falcons, which came over the hill chattering and stooping upon one another. Our morning also brought some excellent non-raptor migrants, including three Black Swifts. Our day was capped off by a small flurry of falcons, including a male American Kestrel, which made a quick pass over the hill on his way south and a late afternoon Merlin, which spent several minutes circling the North Tower of the Golden Gate Bridge. All in all, it was a great day of hawkwatching! We're looking forward to meeting again in two weeks, when the heart of peak should be upon us!

Total Sightings: 305
Hours Counted: 6
HPH: 50.83
Total Species: 11

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 119
Osprey: 1
White-tailed Kite: 4
Northern Harrier: 2
Sharp-shinned Hawk: 36
Cooper's Hawk: 32
Red-shouldered Hawk: 2
Red-tailed Hawk: 86
American Kestrel: 2
Merlin: 1
Peregrine Falcon: 7

Accipiter: 8
Buteo: 3
Falcon: 2
Total unidentified: 13

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

By Emma Regnier & Veronica Pedraza

To the surprise of both the Hawkwatch and Banding teams, we found ourselves caught in a light rain shower right as we were preparing to leave. Donning raincoats and binoculars, we braved the rain and started birding around the lagoon while waiting for the weather to improve. We spotted a Great Egret fishing alongside a Snowy Egret as we crossed the footbridge onto the beach. A family of Western Bluebirds flitted around the sand, stopping to snatch up small insects. The interns returned to the office to host a visiting group of 5th graders from St. Andrew's School and gave them a presentation on the GGRO's mission and the science of raptor migration. Meanwhile, the rest of the Wednesday II team hiked around the lagoon looking for more birds. They saw one Turkey Vulture, two Red-tailed Hawks, and a Great Horned Owl sleeping in a nearby Eucalyptus tree! The fog refused to lift from Hawk Hill, so we ended our day early, but we have our fingers crossed for better weather in two weeks.

Total Sightings: 0
Hours Counted: 0
HPH: 0
Total Species: 0

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

By Veronica Pedraza & Emma Regnier

We had clear skies today for the Tuesday II team thanks to a break from the recent fog. Although the morning started off calm and quiet, the breeze soon picked up from the west and carried all types of raptors with it. From Point Bonita, a bright and flashy raptor caught our attention - our team's first White-tailed Kite sighting this season. Several juvenile Red-shouldered Hawks were spotted soaring up above the North Quadrant in the company of Cooper's Hawks and Red-tailed Hawks. We were fortunate to participate in 6 raptor ID studies over the course of the day, which challenged our Accipiter ID skills and generated great discussions. Students from George Moscone Elementary School visited Hawk Hill today as part of their Migratory Story program. The students practiced hawkwatching, experienced a raptor release, and left the hill buzzing with enthusiasm. As the day wound down, the birds kept on coming right up until the end of the official count. Overall, we had a great day of hawkwatching on the hill!

Total Sightings: 302
Hours Counted: 5.92
HPH: 51.01
Total Species: 11

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 99
Osprey: 1
White-tailed Kite: 1
Northern Harrier: 5
Sharp-shinned Hawk: 28
Cooper's Hawk: 40
Red-shouldered Hawk: 12
Broad-winged Hawk: 1
Red-tailed Hawk: 93
American Kestrel: 3
Peregrine Falcon: 1

Accipiter: 14
Buteo: 2
Raptor: 2
Total unidentified: 18

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