Wednesday, November 30, 2016

13th Annual Sanibel Lighthouse Hawk Watch

The Sanibel Lighthouse Hawk Watch with Vince McGrath has been an anticipated event for a number of years prior to leaving the state of Florida for what you might not believe a move of mine to the great white north.


The Osprey above (image 1) was photographed at the Sanibel Island Lighthouse in October 2016.

As crazy as it may sound I have become acclimated to observing birds again in a northern clime where I would have to travel many miles in Florida to see these species, if at all.


The Northern Rough-winged Swallow above (image 2) was photographed at the Sanibel Island Lighthouse in October 2016.


The American Kestrel above (image 3) was photographed at the Sanibel Island Lighthouse in October 2016.

Vince's Hawk Watch was a few days later this year than last with weather conditions that appeared favorable for observations. The wind was from the northeast as I recall with it ideally from the northwest to funnel the raptors over Sanibel.


The Sharp-shinned Hawk above (image 4) was photographed at the Sanibel Island Lighthouse in October 2016.


The Sharp-shinned Hawk above (image 5) was photographed at the Sanibel Island Lighthouse in October 2016.

A Merlin was an early raptor seen during the 16 Oct 2016 Hawk Watch. It was much too quick for me to photograph as it flew from the west and over San Carlos Bay. Swallows were present as well throughout the morning, but did not appear to outnumber those seen last year.


The juvenile Red-headed Woodpecker above (image 6) was photographed at the Sanibel Island Lighthouse in October 2016.


The American Kestrel above (image 7) was photographed at the Sanibel Island Lighthouse in October 2016.

While the 2016 Hawk Watch was in conflict with the Ding Darling Nation Wildlife Refuge's annual Ding Darling Days, there was still good participation at the hawk event where I met with friends and acquaintances for hopefully not the last time.


The American Kestrel above (image 8) was photographed at the Sanibel Island Lighthouse in October 2016.


The dog above (image 9) was photographed at the Sanibel Island Lighthouse in October 2016.

A highlight for most at the Lighthouse was the observation of an immature Red-headed Woodpecker. Vince noted this species' presence on nearby Cape Coral with it a very rare sighting on Sanibel.


The Peregrine Falcon above (image 10) was photographed at the Sanibel Island Lighthouse in October 2016.


The Peregrine Falcon above (image 11) was photographed at the Sanibel Island Lighthouse in October 2016.

The appearance of a Sharp-shinned Hawk, with the male of the species typically the smallest hawk seen in the United States, was the highlight for me while observing and photographing the species for the first time.


The Cliff Swallow above (image 12) was photographed at the Sanibel Island Lighthouse in October 2016.


The Chimney Swift above (image 13) was photographed at the Sanibel Island Lighthouse in October 2016.

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The Gopher Tortoise above (image 14) was photographed at the Sanibel Island Lighthouse in October 2016.

6 comments:

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    1. Thanks, Tom. I hope you caught the intent of my including the shot of the dog with its similar facial characteristics compared to the Peregrine Falcon and kestrel.

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  2. Enjoyed the tail end of your observations in SW Florida, Bob! Some amazing flight shots there! Looking fwd to your posts from the "Great White North"! LoL

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    1. Thanks, Hemant. There is actually one more Florida post to complete as I couldn't resist a final trip to Harns Marsh Preserve. I regret that I am going to have to settle for back yard birding temporarily, but for me at least it has been very rewarding at the "bird sanctuary" which includes two suet feeders, a thistle feeder and an all purpose seed feeder. The several hours of snowfall the day after my late October arrival was a bit of a shock.

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  3. Loved # 10 picture! Just look at the design and beautiful art work on the underside of the Peregrine Falcon! I was up in Maine in October taking pictures of.the fall foliage...it was simply beautiful! I grew up in Rhode Island and Vermont! I was up to the Celery Fields in Sarasota a few weeks ago and got pictures of baby whistling ducks! They look like bumble bees! I hope things are going well for you, Bob.

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    1. Thanks, Adele. One should never settle for a single photograph of a raptor (or other order) when additional documentation can help distinguish a potentially difficult to identify subject. My arrival in Connecticut allowed for stunning views of the last of the Fall foliage here. Having lived in New England in my youth, I suppose I'm a little spoiled by what these northeast states have to offer visually. I regret not visiting Celery Fields more often than I did. In fact, like Harns Marsh Preserve, it took me nearly a year to visit the venue since first hearing about it. The drive to Celery Fields was indeed worthwhile on all occasions I made a trip there. I'm waiting on the announcement of the dates for the Cape May, NJ, Spring festival to make plans to attend the event. I hope there is a chance of meeting up with you there.

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