Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Hump day 'hawks

Made a brief stop at Holden Creek this evening, just to see if anything was being pushed out by the rising tide.
One of the resident red-tailed hawks was sat in its usual spot as I arrived, and I flushed a Cooper's hawk from the small trees, by the sluice.
On the creek a mixed flock of least and western sandpipers were feeding on the fast vanishing muddy edges. Probably 50 birds in total with around a dozen being westerns.
Swallows were notable by their relative absence - just a handful of birds around the barns.
A merlin came through, and had a go at tackling a couple of starlings, to no avail. A bald eagle was sat out on the telegraph poles (or hydro poles, or whatever they're called over here).

At around 6.30pm I noticed a few common nighthawks feeding over the estuary - a quick count revealed 30 or so. Before long they had been joined by more, and as I watched, nighthawks came pouring in until they peaked at around 200 birds.
They would occasionally break up, with flocks passing over me and heading off toward Cedar, while others headed out over Raines Road, before returning 5 or 6 six minutes later, and again swarming in one big flock over the marsh. Great stuff.
Impossible to photograph though, with a compact digital camera (see accompanying evidence).
It's times like this that I really miss my 35mm cameras... I must invest in a digital SLR one of these days.    

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