Text by RJ Baltierra, Corpus Christi HawkWatch crew member
As we approached the second half of September, a strong storm system arrived and dumped inches of rain. Naturally, we had a couple days shortened and only a total of 32 birds were counted over 3 days. However, the storm system did put down a considerable number of passerines in the park. Some highlights included a Blackburnian Warbler, Ovenbird, Black and White Warbler and about 15 Baltimore Orioles, with most of these birds seen right from the platform. By the 17th the bad weather cleared, and the raptors took notice. A couple massive kettles of Broad-Winged Hawks showed up, making the 17th our first 4-digit Broad-Winged day with over 3,000 counted!
Sixteen Peregrine Falcons were also counted with singles that went past the platform in all directions. The weather improved even more the next day and the Broad-Winged Hawk floodgates were fully opened. At around 10 AM a kettle of Broadies was spotted in the East and from then on kettle after stream after kettle was counted until about 2 o’clock! Some truly impressve streams were seen, some that even needed to be counted by 50s and one stream of 3500 was counted by 100s. At one point three different streams were being counted simultaneously. A great way to introduce some of us new counters to the incredible numbers that pass over the Corpus Christi HawkWatch.
In all 19,180 Broad-Winged Hawks were counted and to think that in the coming week we could have days with 2 to 5 times that number!