Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Fall Migration - September - Connecticut

Egad! For a small state, Connecticut has a lot of hawkwatches! Way to go, you guys! However, I’ve been forced by the length of my blog post to amend my plan of reporting on September results from both Connecticut and New York in this post. Instead, little Connecticut will stand alone this time around.

Although Boothe Memorial Park in Stratford now has just three years of September data, 2011 saw the number of hawks counted more than double last year’s previous high total. In just 35 hours of counting, 9116 hawks were tallied, of which 8513 were Broad-winged Hawks. Results for species other than Broadwings were lower than the previous years.

Botsford Hill in Bridgewater wasn’t nearly as fortunate. With a count of just 1431 raptors, their 2011 was well below average and well below their record September count of 9025 in 1993. Broadwings totaled 1245. The Sharp-shinned count was 101, slightly above average.

Chestnut Hill in Litchfield also had a down year, with just 2705 raptors tallied in September, 2623 of them Broadwings. Their record September was 2002 with 12,982 and their lowest season was the following year with just 420 birds for the month. It’s fair to say that September results at Chestnut Hill vary quite a bit from year to year!

Only one day of counting was reported at Flirt Hill in Easton this year, but the counter picked a good one. In 6 hours of counting on September 17, a record 1992 birds were tallied, of which 1951 were Broadwings. That was the highest total September count, even over the other 9 years that had a lot more hours of observation.

Johnnycake Mtn. near Burlington saw its second best September over 11 years of tallies. They had to put in a record number of hours, by a few, to reach 5385, though. They counted 5196 Broadwings during the month with the best day on September 18 with 5196. Their record September was 2005 with 6627 in about half the hours watched in 2011.

Lighthouse Point, New Haven, had a strong result in September 2011, though not a record. The count of 6448 was the best overall September since 1997, if well below the high count of 19,397 in 1986. The count needed both the Broad-winged Hawk and the Sharp-shinned Hawk tallies to reach that total. The Peregrine Falcon flight for September set a record, with 74, besting last year’s 61. Other species didn’t fare as well, and the kestrel count was a low one at 279. The kestrel flight reached a high of 2597 in 1993. The site has had lower kestrel counts, though most of those were during years with a lot fewer counting hours for the month.

Torrington’s Middle School had something of an average September with 2488 Broadwings and a total of 2643 raptors during the month. Other species were counted in lower numbers, too, though the hours spent counting was similar to previous years. Their best year was 2002 with 11,024.

Just 32.5 hours were posted this year to HawkCount from Poquonock (at least so far), and just 53 raptors were counted.

Quaker Ridge had a solid result in September 2011 with 10,605 raptors counted, of which 8343 were Broad-winged Hawks. They didn’t come close to their record September (and may never do so again) when they counted 42,608 in 1986. Kestrels had a low result with 186; only years with fewer hours of site coverage produced lower results for the little falcon.

Suffield Wildlife Management Area posted results for the first time in September 2011 and came up with 2022 raptors for the month in 28.5 hours of counting. The total included 1955 Broad-winged Hawks, of which 1893 flew on September 17.

And lastly, though only in an alphabetical list, comes White Memorial Foundation in Litchfield. They counted on just 4 days in 2011 and tallied 412 raptors, of which 354 were Broad-winged Hawks. Their best count was a total of 259 on September 16.

Next time I’ll post September results for New York, and if the post doesn’t run too long, I’ll at least start on the New Jersey results, too.

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