Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Flocks of Common Nighthawks

I took my oldest son to a practice at the church in Winter Park. The rain was just ending and as they began to get practice underway I decided to step outside to see if any birds would come out for a last snack of the evening.

I heard a couple of Blue Jays calling and then movement higher in the sky caught my attention. Flocks of birds were beginning to stream by. Crows? No, the wings were too streamlined. Gulls? I raised my binoculars to get a closer view. Even though night was fast approaching I could make out the bands on the undersides of the wings. These were Common Nighthawks! Dozens of them. More than that. I began counting.

Nearly 15 minutes and several groups later I counted over 400 birds. All were moving due South. I have never seen so many Nighthawks in my life. It was pretty amazing. I didn't have my camera with me and the pictures would have been poor, anyway. The only shots I have of Nighthawks was from a small flock that came out in the middle of the day.

Common Nighthawk

That will give you an idea of the bands on the underside of the wing that gave away the species despite the darkening skies. Looking back, I find it interesting that none of the birds made a sound as they passed overhead. Usually Nighthawks call in flight.

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