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photographs on this page courtesy of John Economidy)
Why would anyone voluntarily
spend hours upon hours in the hot, burning sun and/or freezing, unexpected
cold front storms, counting hawks?!?! Well, let me tell you, come spend
just one day on the bluff with us at Hazel Bazemore County Park (Nueces
County, TX) ... even just part of one day, and experience thousands and
thousands and thousands of these magnificent soaring hawks sailing overhead
-- sometimes so close you'd think you could just reach out and touch them
.... and I guarantee, you'll be hooked, too!! Just take a peek at an entry
from 1996 ....
21 September 96
Corpus Christi, Texas
What a day. What a week!
The peak period of hawk migration is off to a good start, despite cold
fronts and storm systems reportedly holding
the hawks in the Canadian north longer than we, and the
Over eighty folks turned
out at Hazel Bazemore this morning to welcome the late
morning liftoff and while we were pleasantly surprised to find a nice cool
morning, the hawks opted to wait out
more warmth. When the air finally warmed enough, kettles totalling
10,300 broadwings took to weak thermals
between nine and ten in the morning.
Another 12,000 plus came
through during the next hour, then the peak hit between 3-4pm, with nearly
47,000 broadwings streaming south.
In this group, another of nature's dramas played out, as two observers
noted a high-speed raptor shooting into the huge kettle of broadwings.
In the ensuing confusion high above us, we lost, then re-acquired the raptor
-- sort of -- for it now sported an
unusual look about it.
Zooming in closer, we finally got it in a
spotting scope and John Economidy (Director,
Texas chapter, HMANA) made out the detail of a red-tailed hawk with something
clutched tightly in its talons.
Zooming still closer, we finally saw it --
the red-tailed hawk was locked into a death grip with a broadwing hawk.
From the position of the two hawks, it appeared the red-tailed hawk had
apparently flown full speed into the huge
kettle of broadwings, body-slamming head-on into one hapless broadwing,
then proceeded to ride out the rest
of the flight, coasting slowly to the ground with its talons buried deep
in the broadwing's breast. It set down
with its dinner much farther west than we were able to follow it. We'll
be talking about that one for years
A nice close to today's hawking --
we're enjoying the company of many visitors who came from out
of town (including San Antonio, Houston, Refugio, Austin), out of state
(including Alaska and Nevada) and even
out of country (England) to join us, including the couple from Nevada,
who are spending their vacation birding in
Texas and opted to spend their 27th wedding anniversary
today counting hawks with us at Hazel. Now that's a way to celebrate!
And THAT's why we do it!
Keep checking ... schedules and maps
coming for Fall '97 Watch ...
Click here for September
Web Page Created and Last Updated July 25, 1997 by Patty