BRRI Hawkwatch: November 10, 2014

Anna FasoliGeneral News and InfoLeave a Comment

Short-tailed Hawk, light type juvenile;  note light head, buffy body and coverts contrasting with dark secondaries

Short-tailed Hawk, light type juvenile; note light head, buffy body and coverts contrasting with dark secondaries.

Today was by far the best day at the Cattle Landing soccer field for hawk watching since I have arrived (site run by Belize Raptor Research Institute). We tallied fourteen species of raptors, including the latest migrant Mississippi Kites for Belize, and a high-flying light adult Swainson’s Hawk! Hook-billed Kites came through in large kettles of up to 24 birds throughout the morning and into the afternoon, giving us a total of 309 for the day! Flocks were mostly too high to ID to age/sex/morph, but many of them streamed right over us.  Cattle landing is the only hawk count site in the world where you can see this many migrant Hook-billed Kites at once. We have already doubled last years numbers for Hook-billed Kites.

Highlight of the day, besides hundreds of Hook-billed Kites, was a single juvenile Double-toothed Kite! Initially we thought this bird was a Sharp-shinned Hawk; juveniles have all the basic field marks of a juvenile Sharpie, but cleaner coverts, slightly different streaking, different bill shape, and a central throat stripe. Overall, the features are really just more bold than a Sharpie, but they are both very small bodied.

This juvenile Double-toothed Kite flew right over us...not a Sharpie!!! Note central throat stripe, boldly banded tail, and clean coverts.

This juvenile Double-toothed Kite flew right over us…not a Sharpie!!! Note central throat stripe, boldly banded tail, and clean coverts.

Hook-billed Kites

A group of 17 Hook-billed kites in classic “streaming” formation, jumping from thermal to thermal. This group thermal-jumped for about 20 minutes before exiting to the south west.

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A group of 21 Hook-billed Kites streaming overhead!

Adult Common Black Hawk; up to six individuals seen daily at the count site.

Adult Common Black Hawk; up to six individuals seen daily at the count site.

Before the count, we tallied 50 species for the morning bird walk. New species for me in Belize included Mourning Dove and Yellow-bellied Sapsucker. I also got a great look at another Yellow-throated Euphonia in the same area where I found Pygmy Kingfisher. Other new species for the day were a Squirrel Cuckoo (heard only) and a single Groove-billed Ani!

Blue-gray Tanager, one of my favorite species here in Punta Gorda!

Blue-gray Tanager, one of my favorite species here in Punta Gorda!

Yellow-throated Euphonia

Yellow-throated Euphonia

Red-lored Parrot, the most abundant parrot around Punta Gorda

Red-lored Parrot, the most abundant parrot around Punta Gorda