Oystercatcher Diaries 2017: Field Week 5

By Susan Heath On Monday, Amanda and I were joined by Allison Huysman who is working at the Mad Island Marsh Preserve banding station this spring. Things have been a little slow so far this year at the banding station and Allison was up for a day on the water so invited her to come along. It’s always exciting to … Read More

Oystercatcher Diaries 2017: Field Week 4

By Susan Heath We were able to head out to East Matagorda Bay on Monday. With the high winds over the weekend I was afraid that many of the nests out there had gotten overwashed. We headed down the GIWW with high hopes and we came across the tugboat Bill Baker. That’s the one that we put a Motus antenna … Read More

Oystercatcher Diaries 2017: Field Week 3

By Susan Heath The wind was too high to go out to East Matagorda Bay on Monday and because I was attending a Loggerhead Shrike Working Group meeting on Tuesday and Wednesday, I didn’t have any available days to switch to so we were only able to get out to West Galveston Bay this week. In addition, our faithful photographer … Read More

Oystercatcher Diaries 2017: Field Week 2

By Susan Heath On Monday, GCBO shorebird technician Amanda Anderson, Cradle of Texas Master Naturalist Oron Atkins, and I headed out to East Matagorda Bay to check on the pairs there. The good folks at the Texas Mid-Coast National Wildlife Refuge are letting us use their boat for this monitoring and for that we thank them very much! To monitor … Read More

Oystercatcher Diaries 2017: Field Week 1

By Susan Heath Believe it or not, it’s time to start monitoring the American Oystercatchers for nesting activity. This year we’ll be monitoring the birds in West Galveston Bay and East Matagorda Bay once a week. We’ll be putting nanotags on 10 adults and 5 chicks so we can track their movements using our new Motus tower network. This project … Read More

Smith Point Hawk Watch 11/15/16 (148 raptors)

Well that’s a wrap folks. The last day of the hawk watch was today. Bob, Tad, Joe and I had nice day enjoying the last of the birds for this year’s total. Seems like we should keep going a bit since we had so many birds today but alas, it is not to be. We waited all day in vain … Read More

Smith Point Hawk Watch 11/14/16 (84 raptors)

It’s slowing down folks. Tomorrow is the last day of the hawk watch! Bob enjoyed watching some shorebirds mucking about in the mud today and an adult Bald Eagle is always a treat. Broad-winged Hawk 11 Red-tailed Hawk 1 Swainson’s Hawk 1 Sharp-shinned Hawk 2 Cooper’s Hawk 2 Turkey Vulture 52 Northern Harrier 12 Bald Eagle 1

Smith Point Hawk Watch 11/13/16 (23 raptors)

An overcast day without a lot of activity. Bob reports lots of robins and some close loons in the bay. Broad-winged Hawk 10 Red-tailed Hawk 4 Swainson’s Hawk 2 Sharp-shinned Hawk 2 Cooper’s Hawk 1 American Kestrel 1 Northern Harrier 3

Smith Point Hawk Watch 11/11/16 (224 raptors)

A great day with a non-migrating adult Bald Eagle, lots of Sandhill Cranes, and over 1000 Greater White-fronted Geese. This is the last weekend of the hawk watch (it ends next Tuesday) so if you haven’t gotten your fix you better go visit Bob this weekend! Broad-winged Hawk 45 Red-tailed Hawk 11 Swainson’s Hawk 9 Red-shouldered Hawk 1 White-tailed Hawk … Read More

Smith Point Hawk Watch 11/10/16 (148 raptors)

Bob reports no birds of note but decent raptors Broad-winged Hawk 31 Red-tailed Hawk 2 Swainson’s Hawk 6 Sharp-shinned Hawk 3 Cooper’s Hawk 4 Turkey Vulture 90 Black Vulture 2 American Kestrel 1 Merlin 1 Northern Harrier 8

Smith Point Hawk Watch 11/9/16 (133 raptors)

Tad reports a weird weather day with north winds all day but constantly changing skies. Birds of the day were seven Snow Geese that flew low over the tower very early. Broad-winged Hawk 23 Red-tailed Hawk 2 Swainson’s Hawk 6 Sharp-shinned Hawk 12 Cooper’s Hawk 22 Turkey Vulture 57 American Kestrel 2 Merlin 1 Osprey 1 Northern Harrier 6 White-tailed … Read More

Smith Point Hawk Watch 11/7/16 (52 raptors)

Another slow day but not as bad as yesterday! Broad-winged Hawk 8 Swainson’s Hawk 1 Sharp-shinned Hawk 8 Cooper’s Hawk 4 Turkey Vulture 8 American Kestrel 5 Peregrine Falcon 2 Northern Harrier 16

Smith Point Hawk Watch 11/5/16 (184 raptors)

A pretty good day with lots more white-fronted geese and the first Sandhill Cranes of the season (3). Broad-winged Hawk 39 Red-tailed Hawk 9 Swainson’s Hawk 12 White-tailed Hawk 1 Sharp-shinned Hawk 8 Cooper’s Hawk 12 Turkey Vulture 80 Black Vulture 6 American Kestrel 2 Peregrine Falcon 2 Merlin 1 Osprey 1 Northern Harrier 10 White-tailed Kite 1

Smith Point Hawk Watch 11/4/16 (141 raptors)

A great day. Lots of waterfowl moving through and the bird of the day, an adult Ferruginous Hawk! Broad-winged Hawk 11 Red-tailed Hawk 3 Swainson’s Hawk 2 Sharp-shinned Hawk 4 Cooper’s Hawk 7 Turkey Vulture 96 Black Vulture 5 American Kestrel 3 Peregrine Falcon 1 Merlin 1 Northern Harrier 7 Photo by Jason Bojczyk from 2011.

Smith Point Hawk Watch 11/2/16 (186 raptors)

The vulture are coming through now! Bird of the day was a lone Wood Stork hanging with said vultures. Broad-winged Hawk 7 Red-tailed Hawk 1 White-tailed Hawk 1 Sharp-shinned Hawk 1 Cooper’s Hawk 2 Turkey Vulture 132 Black Vulture 29 American Kestrel 3 Northern Harrier 10

Smith Point Hawk Watch 11/1/16 (86 raptors)

A rather dull day! Things are winding down I’m afraid. Beware these cold fronts late in the season though. They will bring the waterfowl and maybe a Golden Eagle! Broad-winged Hawk 11 Swainson’s Hawk 1 Sharp-shinned Hawk 3 Cooper’s Hawk 2 Turkey Vulture 50 Black Vulture 11 Osprey 1 Northern Harrier 7

Smith Point Hawk Watch 10/31/16, (125 raptors)

A decent day. Bob reports about 300 Franklin’s Gulls! Broad-winged Hawk 66 Red-tailed Hawk 1 Swainson’s Hawk 7 Sharp-shinned Hawk 7 Cooper’s Hawk 4 Turkey Vulture 26 American Kestrel 3 Osprey 2 Northern Harrier 9

Smith Point Hawk Watch 10/30/16 (92 raptors)

Another slowish day. Bob reports lots of American White Pelicans arriving. Broad-winged Hawk 14 Red-tailed Hawk 2 Swainson’s Hawk 1 Sharp-shinned Hawk 13 Cooper’s Hawk 8 Turkey Vulture 38 Black Vulture 5 American Kestrel 3 Osprey 1 Northern Harrier 7

Smith Point Hawk Watch 10/29/16 (86 raptors)

Another day, another south wind. Where are the cold fronts?! The highlight of the day was a Wilson’s Snipe in the pond with a small alligator. Broad-winged Hawk 13 Red-tailed Hawk 1 Swainson’s Hawk 1 Sharp-shinned Hawk 20 Cooper’s Hawk 7 Turkey Vulture 34 American Kestrel 2 Peregrine Falcon 1 Northern Harrier 6 White-tailed Kite 1

Smith Point Hawk Watch 10/28/16 (87 raptors)

Not a stellar day but Bob reports several Magnificent Frigatebirds were a nice surprise. Broad-winged Hawk 10 Red-tailed Hawk 3 Sharp-shinned Hawk 18 Cooper’s Hawk 5 Small accipiter 1 Turkey Vulture 40 American Kestrel 6 Northern Harrier 3 White-tailed Kite 1

Smith Point Hawk Watch 10/28/16 (201 raptors)

Sorry for the late post everyone. Bob reports a decent day and the first Franklin’s Gulls of the season (a couple hundred flew over the tower). Broad-winged Hawk 30 Red-tailed Hawk 4 Swainson’s Hawk 4 Red-shouldered Hawk 2 Sharp-shinned Hawk 15 Cooper’s Hawk 23 Turkey Vulture 102 Black Vulture 6 American Kestrel 9 Peregrine Falcon 1 Merlin 1 Osprey 1 … Read More

Smith Point Hawk Watch 10/26/16 (123 raptors)

Still raptors heading through but the bird of the day was a Western Kingbird. Broad-winged Hawk 60 Swainson’s Hawk 1 Sharp-shinned Hawk 10 Cooper’s Hawk 11 Small accipiter 2 Turkey Vulture 32 American Kestrel 5 Peregrine Falcon 1 Northern Harrier 1

Smith Point Hawk Watch 10/25/16 (133 raptors)

A shortened day due to a flat tire that needed to be repaired! Broad-winged Hawk 70 Red-tailed Hawk 1 Sharp-shinned Hawk 14 Cooper’s Hawk 12 Turkey Vulture 23 American Kestrel 8 Merlin 1 Osprey 1 Northern Harrier 3

Smith Point Hawk Watch 10/24/16 (408 raptors)

Another decent day. Thought I’d show off Bob’s new chair today. Broad-winged Hawk 346 Swainson’s Hawk 1 Sharp-shinned Hawk 23 Cooper’s Hawk 11 American Kestrel 21 Northern Harrier 6

Smith Point Hawk Watch 10/23/16 (276 raptors)

Another decent day but no black-hawk. Seems likely that is migrated south (or somewhere) yesterday. Broad-winged Hawk 175 Red-tailed Hawk 1 Swainson’s Hawk 1 Sharp-shinned Hawk 32 Cooper’s Hawk 18 Turkey Vulture 17 American Kestrel 16 Merlin 1 Northern Harrier 15

Smith Point Hawk Watch 10/22/16 (466 raptors)

A fine, fine day! Lots of birds and great company at the watch. The Common Black-Hawk did not disappoint. At about 10:30 it rose up out of the south motte and circled right over the tower before heading off towards the north. It was not seen again so we can only assume it headed across the bay. Broad-winged Hawk 351 … Read More

Smith Point Hawk Watch 10/21/16 (732 raptors)

The cold front did not disappoint! A great day and a new species for the count – an adult Common Black-Hawk! Bald Eagle 1 Common Black-Hawk 1 Broad-winged Hawk 296 Red-tailed Hawk 5 Swainson’s Hawk 24 Red-shouldered Hawk 1 White-tailed Hawk 1 Sharp-shinned Hawk 128 Cooper’s Hawk 89 Turkey Vulture 140 American Kestrel 21 Peregrine Falcon 2 Merlin 1 Osprey … Read More

Smith Point Hawk Watch 10/20/16 (22 raptors)

ZZZZZZZZZZZZZ…. Sharp-shinned Hawk 4 Cooper’s Hawk 2 Turkey Vulture 12 American Kestrel 1 Peregrine Falcon 2 Northern Harrier 1 Bob reports the winds shifted this afternoon so tomorrow should be great. He is really enjoying his new chair Gary and Denise! Thank you so much for supporting our great hawk watcher with such a wonderful gift!

Smith Point Hawk Watch 10/19/16 (164 raptors)

Still waitin’ on that cold front! Broad-winged Hawk 33 Red-tailed Hawk 1 Swainson’s Hawk 1 Sharp-shinned Hawk 57 Cooper’s Hawk 20 Mississippi Kite 1 Turkey Vulture 33 American Kestrel 8 Peregrine Falcon 2 Northern Harrier 8