[Tweeters] Re: Large kettle of large birds ID question

Stewart Wechsler ecostewart at gmail.com
Thu Sep 29 14:42:06 PDT 2016


Lonnie,

I expect I saw the same "kettle" of birds you saw. I saw a flock of ~44
Turkey Vultures rising on thermals in "kettle" formation, then gliding
south. The birds I saw were a bit north of you in West Seattle - flying
south over about 9000 14th Ave SW and SW Henderson St, west of Westcrest
Park, and a bit earlier than what you reported. I think it was a bit
before 2pm. I got a good look at them with binoculars, and all were
definitely Turkey Vultures, as I was able to see their light colored flight
feathers and dark wing coverts, as well as the red heads. It was not easy
to see the "dihedral" V-shape for the wings, nor did I see any rocking. I
also noted 2 Turkey Vultures flying south over West Seattle a day or two
earlier. The relatively large flock had me checking the range maps to see
how much further north they now live. The map I checked had them going 1/3
- 1/2 the way up British Columbia.

-Stewart Wechsler
West Seattle
www.stewardshipadventures.com

Date: Wed, 28 Sep 2016 14:57:21 -0700

> From: Lonnie Somer <mombiwheeler at gmail.com>

> Subject: [Tweeters] Large kettle of large birds ID question

> To: Tweeters <tweeters at u.washington.edu>

> Message-ID:

> <CAArM=Z2M26x2fK1Gu6_R_4EB5gkNtDAs2Bhm=9RAxhRgSm-M_A@

> mail.gmail.com>

> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="utf-8"

>

> Hi Tweeters,

>

>

> I was birding on the Highline College campus in Des Moines around 2:15 this

> afternoon when I spotted a large kettle of birds quite a distance away to

> the north, probably not far from the Sound's coast (hard to be certain).

> Combined, they were in a very loosely formed egg-shaped formation, with

> some toward the top, the majority in the middle, and a smaller amount at

> the bottom. I estimated that there were at least 50 birds. They were too

> far away for me to see any specific details, but they were shaped like

> Red-tailed Hawks with broad wings and relatively short, broad tails, and

> the size seemed about right. They were definitely not crows, gulls, or

> Turkey Vultures. They were all riding a thermal higher and higher, mostly

> soaring, but some would occasionally rapidly flap to gain some altitude.

> I watched them for about 5 minutes until they drifted out of sight. So my

> question is this: is it possible that they were a very large group of

> Red-tailed Hawks (or maybe even a mixed flock of hawks) that were gaining

> altitude to cross the water? I had never seen anything quite like this and

> really wished that I had my scope with me. Thanks.

>

>

> Lonnie Somer

>

> Seattle

> mombiwheeler at gmail.com




> ------------------------------

>

> Date: Wed, 28 Sep 2016 16:01:39 -0700

> From: Lonnie Somer <mombiwheeler at gmail.com>

> Subject: [Tweeters] mystery kettle of Des Moines birds, part 2

> To: Tweeters <tweeters at u.washington.edu>

>

> Hi again,

>

> Ryan Merrill pointed out that big groups of Turkey Vultures have been seen

> migrating through in the past few days. It does seem much more likely to

> be that species than a kettle of hawks. They did not appear to me to be

> holding their wings in a dihedral manner or rocking as they soared, but

> perhaps because of the distance I just couldn't make these out. In any

> event, if anyone else in Tweetersville sees something similar, can you post

> it? Thanks,

>

> Lonnie Somer

> Seattle

> mombiwheeler at gmail.com

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