Category Archives: Raptor Watch

Hawk Count – Oct. 17

Today Ed Pike and Steve Baker counted Raptors with help from Susan Bissell. It was a sunny windy day with strong winds from the Southwest. there were many raptors moving around mostly moving east and west on the point waiting for a time to cross. Some were able to cross to the south and others attempted and returned to Point LaBarbe. It was a good day with a lot of Turkey Vultures and Red-tails. We observed another Dark Red-tail that did not cross the Straits even though it made 2 attempts. The Rough-legged Hawks again showed up with 2 dark morph birds, made for an interesting day. If the winds had slowed we probably would have seen a lot of Raptors crossing the Straits.
Totals below:
Turkey Vulture 209
N. Harrier 2
Sharp-shinned Hawk 70
Red-tailed hawk 65
Rough-legged Hawk 5
Am. Kestrel 2

Hawk Count- Oct. 13

Today with cloudy conditions and moderate to high winds from the southwest few raptors were flying. Ed Pike and Bruce Seeger watched for raptors. Mid-morning Turkey Vultures built in numbers to 65 before disappearing to the west. A few Sharp-shinned and Red-tailed Hawks were flying and headed south across the Straits. Around 1 pm a second group of Turkey Vultures started to gather totaling 23 moving east and west not crossing; and the numbers of Sharp-shinned and Red-tails dropped off. When quitting at 2 pm a few Turkey Vultures headed east. Ed went to the overlook by the Arnold freight dock to check for waterbirds and observed three groups of Turkey vultures (total 17) and 1 Red-tail came from the west and flew east across to Mackinac Island riding the winds. Also seen were a line of 7 Long-tailed Ducks, about 2000 Redhead Ducks, 8 Hooded Mergansers and a few Red-breasted Mergansers and Double-crested Cormorants. Total Raptors for the day are below:
Turkey Vulture 65
Osprey 1
Sharp-shinned Hawk 18
Bald Eagle 2
Red-tailed Hawk 2

Hawk Count, Sept. 28

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Steve Baker and Ed Pike both got a well-deserved break from counting raptors today, so it was up to the amateur crew of Bruce Seeger and Sue Stewart to do our best. The day got off to an interesting start, with a number of duck hunters in the water just across the road from our watch site. Just as we arrived there were boats being pulled onto trailers, trucks driving through the water, duck calls sounding, and decoys being bagged up for another day.
The weather was fair, winds light and variable, cold overnight but the day warmed up with the sun. There were not nearly enough clouds in the sky for us! We started at 11 and worked until 2. 11-12 was very slow, just a couple Monarchs, some dragonflies, and a flock of cowbirds hanging around. Noon to one picked up nicely with a few red-tailed and broad-winged hawks, and a red-shouldered hawk. From one to two, we had our hands full. By then the few cumulus clouds had drifted along and we were left with deep blue sky, and some very high, light cirrus clouds moving in. With the sun high and the sky blue, birds were hard to see, and to make it even harder, everyone seemed to be flying very high. Once they got high enough that they were hard to see by naked eye, they also sometimes slipped behind high clouds just thick enough to blur the image. We had a series of turkey vulture kettles, most with a few hawks or eagles mixed in, and two set of sandhill cranes flying very high. Bruce was able to identify all the hawks. In the end we had just one mystery bird. We first saw it almost straight overhead, flying Southeast, fast and very high. It was a large duck or goose with a white front and black on its wings and head. All told, it was not a bad way to spend a Saturday.

1 juvenile red-tailed, 6 adults
2 broad-winged
1 red-shouldered
52 turkey vultures
4 adult bald eagles, 1 juvenile
1 cooper’s hawk
47 sandhill cranes
1 unknown duck or goose

from Sue Stewart

Hawk Count Sept. 23

Another hot day at the Hawk Count at Point LaBarbe. Ed Pike counted, with Steve Baker’s help for a while and Bruce Seeger from Cheboygan helping spot birds. We had a good trickle of Sharp-shinned all day and a few falcons. No Buteo’s were moving. At about 11:20 am Steve Baker spotted a Frigatebird which appeared to be a juvenile or female which Steve and Ed looked at for a minute, it disappeared in the distance; then short time later Bruce arrived and said he had seen it soaring over the north end of the Mackinac Bridge. A great sighting for us and a new record for the UP and Mackinac Co. The list of Raptors is below.
Turkey Vulture 1
Sharp-shinned Hawk 147
Bald Eagle 4
Broad-winged Hawk 1
Red-tailed Hawk 1
Am. Kestrel 9

Monarch Butterfly 10
Magnificent Frigatebird 1

Hawk Count for Sept. 21

Today Ed Pike and Sue Stewart observed and counted Raptors crossing the Straits. It was very warm with a lite wind from the south and the Straits were very hazy, which slowed the Raptors from crossing. When they did cross they were very high, barely visible to the naked eye. Can’t beat the warm weather but it certainly has slowed migration. Our list is below:
Turkey Vulture 21
Sharp-shinned Hawk 50
Bald Eagle 22
Broad-winged Hawk 9
Red-tailed Hawk 3
Am. Kestrel 3
Peregrine Falcon 1
Unidentified Falcon 1

Monarch Butterfly 14

Hawk Count Sept. 18

Today Ed Pike counted raptors migrating across the Straits as well as some other species. The count occurred from 12 pm till 4 pm; it was sunny and very warm with light winds from the southwest slowly switching to the west as the afternoon went on; a beautiful day at the Straits. There was a high layer of clouds moving Northeast and a lower layer moving south. Most birds were flying very high barely visible to the naked eye. Right after arriving I heard Sandhills calling to the east and to the west but I was unable to locate them. Then I heard another group calling and finally saw them, 16 sandhills that flew right overhead. They were so high to be barely visible to the naked eye which explained why I could not locate the other 2 groups at a distance. Several more flocks flew by all really high. The raptors were also very high and were seen best when right overhead looking more like dots than raptors; mostly singles with some 2’s and 3’s. Another good day of counting. The list of sightings are below.
C, Loon 1
Turkey Vulture 27
N. Harrier 2
Sharp-shinned 22
Cooper’s Hawk 1
Bald Eagle 3
Broad-winged Hawk 8
Red-tailed Hawk 4
Sandhill Crane 61
Am. Kestrel 4
Peregrine Falcon 1
Monarch Butterfly 14

Hawk Count Sept. 12

Steve Baker counted Raptors today. It was a beautiful day with warm temperatures and sunny skies. The winds switched to the west and some Raptors began flying; most of which were lower making observations easier. The list is below:
Turkey Vulture 22
Bald Eagle 8
Sharp-shinned 22
Broad-winged Hawk 25
Am. Kestrel 1
Merlin 1
Peregrine Falcon 1

Hawk Count Sept. 9

Today Steve Baker and I were at Point LaBarbe from 10 am till 2:30 pm. The winds were light from the east with mostly clear skies. With the SE wind a nice cumulus cloud formed over Point LaBarbe with some clouds to the northwest. These clouds helped with picking out raptors moving. While not a lot there was a steady movement of raptors moving south. They were all moving very high, barely visible with the naked eye. A total of 60 raptors were counted. The list is below.
Turkey Vulture 18
Sharp-shinned 10
Bald Eagle 5 adult and 1 Imm.
Red-shouldered Hawk 2
Broad-winged Hawk 10
Red-tail 2
Buteo sp. 3
Am. Kestrel 2
Merlin 1
Falcon sp. 4
Monarch Butterfly 1

Raptor Watch at Point LaBarbe Sept. 8,2017

Hello all
Today I headed for Point LaBarbe, although I was getting there a little later than I wanted to, I had hoped to arrive around 11:30. I got to Mackinaw City and the roads were blocked here and there as today was the Tractor parade across the bridge. North bound across the bridge was one lane and was bumper to bumper across the bridge. The only time it took me longer to cross the bridge was when I walked it years ago on Labor Day. So while crawling across the bridge I was able to look occasionally for Raptors and did not see any. After 45 minutes on the bridge (the tractors were going faster at times); I arrived at the Point shortly after noon. As I saw from the bridge there were very few raptors flying. I stayed till 2:30 hoping for some birds with little success. Below is a list of those seen. None were crossing the Straits to the south.
Turkey Vulture 2
N. Harrier 1
Sharp-shinned Hawk 2
Bald Eagle 4 (All seen kettling at the same time)
Am. Kestrel 1

In the next week the Raptors should start moving.

Hawk Watch, June 4

Heavy fog and misting rain delayed the count all morning. It finally cleared around 1:00 PM and I got in an hour of watching before misting rain started again and reduced visibility. Unfortunately, no hawks moved by in that time. Tomorrow is the last day of the count for this season and the weather looks much more reasonable.