Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Common Black-Hawk Migration

This is my post to the AZ-NM birding e-mail list today:
Following up on Gavin's pretty astonishing report from yesterday, Brian Sullivan, Mich Coker and I arrived at Tubac at about 9:20, seeing our first COMMON BLACK-HAWK just as we turned east onto Bridge Road from the Frontage Road on the north side of Tubac. We first spent some time down near the ball fields but ended up returning to the same junction, which gave us a good view of the whole area. In a little over an hour we saw 42 (yes, forty-two) COMMON BLACK-HAWKS, all clearly migrating northward. The largest number in any one kettle was 14, but most were singletons to groups of 3. This must surely represent some sort of record, and was more than any of us have seen in our lifetimes. We also had about 3 ZONE-TAILED HAWKS in addition to other more expected raptors.
A combination of good timing and a bottled-up group of migrants waiting for perfect weather conditions were the main contributing factors. I forgot to mention we also had a Swainson's Hawk, only the second one reported this year.

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