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Monday, August 26, 2013

Common Nighthawks, 2,202! - Epic flight!!

Common Nighthawk, male. Males have a white throat, white subterminal primary bar on wings and a white band on the tail. 

Common Nighthawk, female. Females have a buffy throat, smaller white primary bar and no tail band.

Common Nighthawk, male

Common Nighthawk, female

Common Nighthawk, male

Common Nighthawk, male

We were so fortunate Sat. night to witness historic Common Nighthawk migration here in NH and saw 2,202 birds in one night. We have gotten good flights before, but last night blew away our previous high count (1,058 in one night.) We live on a dammed-up section of a river, where the river flows north and nighthawks often follow river valleys on migration. We count from our deck and were joined Sat. night by our friends, Phil and Julie Brown and Henry Walters. Of the 2202 birds we saw, 1,772 were flying north, 430 flew south.

Common Nighthawk numbers have been declining in the Northeast so it was very exciting so see so many of them that night.

We also looked last night and saw about 250 nighthawks. This is still peak Common Nighthawk migration time, so get out and look. The best time to see them is at the end of the day from about 5 pm to dark.

Photos were taken with my Canon 1D Mark IV and the 300mm lens plus 1.4 teleconverter.


Hilke Breder said...

Marvelous images, Lillian!! What camera did you use and if the Canon Powershot, what settings?

Lillian and Don Stokes said...

Thanks. The photos were taken with my Canon 1D Mark IV camera and 300 mm lens plus 1.4 teleconverter, hand held. Photographing nighthawks is challenging and I wanted to be sure I got good photos so used my pro set-up.

Dawn said...

Why would they be flying north?

Josh Wallestad said...

Awesome photos! I've never seen such detail on a Common Nighthawk before. Thanks for the education on differentiating the sexes. They are definitely on the move - 30,874 nighthawks passed by Hawk Ridge in Duluth, MN on 8-21.

Lillian and Don Stokes said...

It is not unusual for them to fly north here, as the river flows north and we have seen them head that way before.
Josh, awesome numbers from Duluth! Would have loved to have seen that.

Kathie Brown said...

Excellent shots of one of my all time favorite birds! It is so encouraging to hear their numbers were up! I can only hope that this continues!

Wally Jones said...

Great report on the nighthawk numbers!
I was lucky last week and found one napping on a pine tree branch.

As usual, excellent images!