Montclair Hawkwatch Update- November 14th

This week at the hawkwatch was notable in regard to non-raptor species. On the 8th, following the previous week’s trend, large numbers of Brants migrated overhead, with the day’s count adding up to 355 individuals. Over 700 Canada Geese passed over as well. Although the 13th brought additional numbers of more Canada Geese, the 8th was the sole day of the week that Brants flew over.

American Robins, Red-winged Blackbirds, and Common Grackles have been the predominant migrants, with significant numbers passing over every day in sizeable flocks. Early in the week, I tallied a few hundred individuals of both of the blackbird species. They have tended to pass over in larger flocks of 30 to 100 individuals, while the robins have trickled through in smaller, disorganized flocks. The 13th was a good day for blackbirds; I counted over 1700 Common Grackles and 400 Red-wings. The following day brought even greater numbers; on the 14th I tallied over 5000 Common Grackles. Many of these were from a singe morning flock of birds that was so large it took almost three minutes to fully pass by the hawkwatch. On such days of high blackbird activity, flock tend to pass through during morning hours, with a cessation of sightings around noon. Later in the day, as the sun lowers, more flocks continue to push southwards, albeit in lower numbers.

In regard to raptors, there have been a few notable sightings in the context of the season’s count overall. There have been very few Norther Harriers this season, but one female passed over on the 8th. Three Merlins and one Peregrine sped southward this week, as well. Although Sharp-shinned and Cooper’s Hawks are still migrating through, their numbers have tailed off noticeably. Red-shouldered and Red-tailed Hawks are the predominant hawk migrants at this point in the season.

View of the southern sky in the afternoon from Montclair Hawkwatch