Author Archives: Steve Baker

Red-tailed Hawks on the move

There was a good movement of Red-tailed Hawks along the north shore of Lake Michigan on October 20. While birding at Pt. Labarbe in the late morning a loose kettle of a dozen Red-tails was seen. Traveling west on US-2 , many more Red-tails were noted , generally drifting east. Best observation sites were the bluffs at the two picnic areas on US-2. At least 90 Red-tails were observed in about 45 minutes. Other migrating raptors seen were several Bald Eagles and a few Sharp-shinned Hawks.
submitted by Steve Baker

A quiet morning for waterbirds-October 20

A slow morning for waterbirds at McGulpin Point. Moderate NE winds did not push many birds and it seems that any wind from the east is not very productive for migration. Just an observation. Two Snow Buntings perched on the big rock was a highlight of the day.

Long-tailed Duck-14
Unidentified Duck-45
WW Scoter-2
Horned Grebe-1
Canada Goose-4
Common Loon-2
Red-necked Grebe-1

Submitted by Steve Baker

Waterbirds for October 19

Blustery west winds caused traffic escorts on the bridge , freighters to anchor down and birds to sit tight. Waterfowl movements tended to be flights right at water level with ducks disapearing into wave troughs. Even the crows were skimming the waves as they headed south. Two hours of observation from McGulpin Point yielded small numbers but good variety with the majority heading west, directly into the gale.
Black Scoter-2
Black Duck-1
C. merganser-4
C. Loon=1
Long-tailed duck-43
Horned Grebe-1
DC Cormorant-4
WW Scoter-10
Unidentified Duck-5

Submitted by Steve Baker

October 17 Morning Waterbird observations

Snow flakes were in the air at Mcgulpin Point this morning with a chilly 28 degrees. There was not much activity through the straits and I only counted till 9:45 am. The days highlight was watching the many snow squalls roll through. Results were 2 Common Loon, 21 Redheads, 125 Unidentified Ducks, 43 WW Scoters, 1 Horned Grebe, and 1 Red-necked Grebe. Other birds seen were 4 Bald Eagles, and 2 Lapland Longspurs. Submitted by Steve Baker


October 14 Waterbird Report

October 14 at McGulpin Point began with a spectacular sunrise to the east and a rainbow to the west. It would have even better if it was 70 degrees instead of 40 with wind. A Bald Eagle flew by and seemingly bumped into the rainbow but he should be ok. Two hours of observation the best looks at Redheads so far for this water watcher and the first of many more Long-tailed Ducks yet to come. Totals were 316 Redheads, 5 DC Cormorant, 10 Common Merganser,8 Common Loon, 11 WW Scoter, 1 Canada Goose, 40 Long-tailed Ducks, 8 Gadwall, and 249 Unidentified Flying Ducks. The only raptor observed were 5 Bald Eagles. Submitted by Steve Baker



October 16- afternoon sightings from McGulpin Point

I was able to observe from 3 to 3:50 at McGulpin Point with strong north winds, snow squalls, some sunshine, and the huge waves of gale warning proportions. 2 Common Loons, 32 WW Scoters, and 36 UFD(Unidentified Flying Duck).
Beach birds were 3 Pipits and a single Rusty Blackbird.
It was a day for contrarians as 12 Bald Eagles , 80 Crows, and a single Pileated Woodpecker all proceeded to head north towards the UP directly into the bluster. One Eagle circled a panicked merganser briefly before flying north giving great views in brilliant sunshine. Submitted by Steve Baker

Catch up Waterbird report –October 15

October 15 dawned with cool WNW winds and peaks of blue sky.I observed for two hours at McGulpin Point and picked up a nice variety of waterfowl. It gives me indigestion to say that a highlight was a fly by of a Mute Swan pair. Other tallies were 12 DC Cormorant, 3 RB Merganser, 6 Common Merganser, 33 WW Scoter, 315 Aythya type ducks, 332 UFD(Unidentified Flying Duck),26 Common Loon, 2 Horned Grebe, 6 Red-necked Grebe, and 83 Redhead.
Other observations of south bound migrants include over 150 Crows, 3 Northern Harriers, 40 Turkey Vultures, 2 Sharp-shinned Hawks, and a single Merlin.

From 10 to 11 am I moved just east of the bridge near the Old Mackinac Lighthouse and noted a nice migration of raptors with 190 Turkey Vultures(TVs often follow the bridge),9 Red-tailed Hawks, 2 Sharp-shinned Hawks, and 2 Merlins. Submitted by Steve Bakerimage

A day of diversity, September 29

There was an uptick in migration on Tuesday with strong NW winds and a mostly cloudy sky. Waterfowl were joined by a nice mix of raptors and the beginning waves of Sandhill Cranes. Steve Baker and Ed Pike observed from 7:30 am to 1 pm. Highlights included 91 Common Loons, 175 Canada Geese, 140 Redheads, 54 White-winged Scoters, and 7 Red-necked Grebes. Many duck flocks were too distant to identify to species and were listed as Aythya ducks(379) or unidentified ducks(735).
Raptors seen were Bald Eagle(12), N. harrier(4), Red-tailed hawk(1), Sharp-shinned Hawk(1). Sandhills totalled 100 and I suspect many more came later in the day as the sun broke through .
An interesting finding was that from McGulpin Point we could identify Turkey Vultures soaring over US-2 on the north side, a distance of 5 miles.

May 1 update

imageimageWell it looks like Hawkcount is still down, so here is a quick update. April 30 and May 1 were big Broad-wing days with several thousand each day. Golden Eagles still regular. The weekend looks great with lots of sunshine so come enjoy the migration .

Raptors and other cool birds 4/30/15

Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle

White Pelicans

White Pelicans

Hawk count is out of commission today so this note will be a sort of update. I don’t have Kevin’s numbers but can tell you there were at least 10 Golden Eagles , many Bald Eagles, a thousand plus Broad-wings, and a nice assortment of other raptors.
The other cool birds were 9 Bonaparts Gulls, a lone Lapland Longspur, and a line of 5 White Pelicans.
The weekend looks promising weather wise and there should be more birds in the pipeline so come and enjoy the show.