Monthly Archives: May 2017

Hawk Count, May 30

As was the case yesterday, strong SW winds were not my friend. Raptors were seemingly being pushed to the eastern shoreline and that likely means many did not come into my view. Those that did were already very high and often drifting a bit southward from the northeast, creating a complicated counting situation. There was still a reasonably nice showing of raptors but not what I would have hoped from south winds. There have been a few big pushes of Broad-winged Hawks at a downstate hawkwatch recently, so I think there is still hope for us. Although tomorrow looks grim with rain in the forecast.

Turkey Vulture – 33
Cooper’s Hawk – 1
Broad-winged Hawk – 100
Red-tailed Hawk – 4

Hawk Watch, May 29

Today started with a bang but sadly fizzled out rather quick. The first hour had 229 Broad-winged Hawks go north, but this momentum died by 11:00 AM when it rained for about an hour. After the rain stopped, the only hawks that could be found were seen extremely high to the northeast, barely visible with binoculars and essentially invisible unless they were in front of a cloud. The gusty SW winds seemingly pushed all the birds to the lake shore and none were coming over my head. I can only imagine how many birds passed me by like this, given the good wind conditions. I’m hoping the raptors don’t repeat this again tomorrow, as the wind direction and speed is similar.

In the waterbird department, I once again saw decent sized flocks of migrant Canada Geese. Much less than yesterday, I still had around 130 geese migrating north.

Turkey Vulture – 52
Bald Eagle – 3
Broad-winged Hawk – 340
Red-tailed Hawk – 8
Merlin – 1

Common Loon – 1

Hawk Watch, May 28

Today felt more like a waterbird count than a hawk count. In the 5 hrs of counting I managed before it started raining, 991 Canada Geese flew over migrating north. I found this movement to be quite unusual for late May. I’m not sure what these geese are thinking. Perhaps they are nonbreeders moving together to a different summering ground, or perhaps these geese are still intending to attempt breeding. Other waterbirds included two Great Egrets flying southwest, two Great Blue Herons, a Common Merganser, and a Caspian Tern.

Hawk movement was pretty subdued, probably due to the impending rain. Most notable bird was a Northern Harrier. Another highlight was the local Merlin pair flying over calling. Tomorrow looks pretty good with the rather uncommon wind direction of WSW.

Turkey Vulture – 4
Northern Harrier – 1
Sharp-shinned Hawk – 1
Broad-winged Hawk – 89
Red-tailed Hawk – 1

Hawk Watch, May 27

Today was the warmest day I’ve ever experienced in Mackinaw City, as far as I can recall. It was in the 70s most of the day with a light breeze. These conditions managed to produce the second best Broad-winged Hawk day of the season, thus far. It was relieving to see that there are still birds on the move. In past years, the hawk watch has had multiple day of 1000+ Broad-winged Hawks, but I have yet to break 1000 in a day.

Turkey Vulture – 48
Bald Eagle – 2
Sharp-shinned Hawk – 1
Broad-winged Hawk – 568
Red-tailed Hawk – 13

Hawk Watch, May 24-26

May 24 and 25 were essentially rained out, but a few hours during clear periods netted some birds. May 26 was the first nice day in a while. There was also finally westerly winds. The movement wasn’t all that impressive in the end, but it was the best day since May 15. The forecast through the end of the count has a few days of potential rain, but hopefully the remaining nice days will fill out our low Broad-winged numbers.

The Killdeer nest that was at our primary hawkwatch site hatched either before or on May 22 and the entire family has left the area now.

May 24
Turkey Vulture – 1

May 25
Turkey Vulture – 4
Sharp-shinned Hawk – 3
Broad-winged Hawk – 1
Red-tailed Hawk – 1

May 26
Turkey Vulture – 45
Bald Eagle – 2
Sharp-shinned Hawk – 2
Broad-winged Hawk – 370
Red-tailed Hawk – 19

American White Pelican – 2

Hawk Watch, May 21-23

After 2 days of being rained around, I thought migrants might be bottled up and ready to move on Tuesday (May 23). Unfortunately, there was an immense fog  throughout the morning. It finally cleared around 12:30 and a modest number of birds passed by. The variety was pretty nice for this late in the season, including a Cooper’s Hawk.

May 21
Turkey Vulture – 2

May 22
Rained out

May 23
Turkey Vulture – 11
Osprey – 2
Bald Eagle – 3
Sharp-shinned Hawk – 4
Cooper’s Hawk – 1
Broad-winged Hawk – 53
Red-tailed Hawk – 5

Hawk Watch, May 20

An abysmally slow day thanks to strong, easterly winds suppressing movement. Tomorrow looks like it may be the same, except with possible rain in the mix.

Turkey Vulture – 7
Bald Eagle – 4
Broad-winged Hawk – 17
Red-tailed Hawk – 5

Common Loon – 1

Hawk Watch, May 19

Birds were flying incredibly high in today’s clear blue sky. It was a struggle to find them and keep track of them. Thankfully, these birds were largely crossing the straits without fuss. There was a relatively good movement of Broad-wingeds, but we have still not achieved the numbers we should have had by now. Tomorrow has strong, easterly winds in store….

Highlights: A single American White Pelican and 2 local Peregrine Falcons hunting together.

Turkey Vulture – 39
Bald Eagle – 4
Sharp-shinned Hawk – 5
Broad-winged Hawk – 329
Red-tailed Hawk – 31

Hawk Watch, May 18

Rain plagued the count today and I only managed a short watch in the morning and then again in the afternoon. A few birds came by in that time, at least. Most notable was a Peregrine Falcon flying north as I pulled in to start watching again after the rain subsided. Also of note was a Northern Mockingbird hanging around in the morning at our main watch site, behind the Recreation Center. Coincidentally, two days ago there were two Northern Mockingbirds at our other site in Darrow’s field.

Turkey Vulture – 2
Broad-winged Hawk – 17
Peregrine Falcon – 1

Hawk Watch, May 17

The Broad-winged Hawks keep trickling in. The weather was quite nice, but the wind was predominantly north. There was a nice push of around 200 Broad-wingeds between 12:00pm and 2:00pm, but besides that it was fairly slow.

Turkey Vulture – 48
Osprey – 1
Sharp-shinned Hawk – 8
Broad-winged Hawk – 239
Red-tailed Hawk – 9

Common Loon – 2