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Waterbird Count October 18th & 19th

Winter ducks are moving in.  The Long-tailed Duck numbers have been going up every day.  LTDU’s and scoters are passing McGulpin Point daily.  Also there has been an increase in Common Goldeneye & Buffleheads.  Highlights from the 18th include some Sanderlings, a total of 31 American Pipits that crossed the strait, and 7 Red-necked Grebes (I guess they’re not all done yet.)  On the 19th, the 1st Great Black-backed Gull of the season flew to the west, a 1st cycle individual.

Below are the complete lists via eBird…

10/18

10/19

Hawk Count-October 15th-19th

Hail on the 15th

Snow on the 17th

The weather has continued to be rather neat and interesting for October, but not very conducive for raptor migration.  Despite these adverse conditions, raptors have still been attempting to migrate through the straits.

here On the 15th there was rain until 11:45.  From 11:45 until 12:45 there was no form of precipitation, and this was when the raptors pushed through for the day.  After 12:45 there was more rain which transitioned into sleet, then snow, and finally hail.  source url A total of 186 raptors for the day was rather good considering all the weather, with highlights being  buy doxycycline tablets from chemist 90 Sharp-shinned Hawks, 41 Red-tailed Hawks,  a Broad-winged Hawk, and a Golden Eagle.

Hail on the 15th

On the 16th there was on and off rain until 12:45 and winds steady at 20 mph out of the SW to WSW, gusting to 30 mph throughout the day.  Only 4 raptors were tallied, but of these were Northern Harriers.

On the 17th there was snow and sleet squalls throughout the day, lasting up to 30 minutes at a time.  Fortunately there were NW winds all day, which led to 127 raptors tallied.  Eleven Red-shouldereds was the most so far this season and another Rough-legged Hawk flew by.

Red-shouldered Hawk

The first legit snow of the season on the 17th

The 18th saw strong SW winds all day, increasing in strength nearly every hour or two.  It was the first sunny day, that remained sunny, in over a month!  In fact, the last time we had this much sun was on September 17th!  This led to a rather nice movement despite a wind direction raptors had to work against.  In fact, they chose to go during the middle of the day, rather than the less windy, earlier part of the day.  From 12 until 2 contained the bulk of the flight, with most Red-tailed Hawks flying across the straits in steady 15 mph SW winds and still regularly crossing in steady 17 mph winds that were gusting to 25 mph.  It seemed as if the steady 18-20+ mph mark was when they stopped crossing into the SW wind.  Many still got to the lake but subsequently turned around and headed north or lingered around.  At one point there was even a distant kettle of 45 Red-tailed Hawks to the northeast, with an additional 17 in view at the same time.  So 148 of the 210 Red-tailed Hawks crossed the straits into a strong headwind.  This was incredibly surprising and unexpected to see.  Red-tailed Hawks prefer not to cross large bodies of water and yet they did so in some of the most unfavorable winds.  It was definitely the most unfavorable conditions I’ve ever seen Red-tailed Hawks cross anywhere.  From 1:00 onward, winds were steady at 18-25 mph and gusting 25-33 mph.

A total of 357 raptors were tallied for the day including 109 Turkey Vultures, 4 Red-shouldered Hawks, 4 Rough-legged Hawks, a “dark morph” Red-tailed Hawk, and a Golden Eagle.

Red-tailed Hawk

Rough-legged Hawk

Golden Eagle

Today, the 19th, saw SW winds steady at 20-26 mph, gusting to 39 mph, with rain from around noon onward.  Just 3 Sharpies were tallied.

Tomorrow may finally be the last day of this long stretch of strong winds.  As a plus it’s out of the NW so it might be rather productive, particularly for later season migrants.  After tomorrow no precipitation is currently in sight, and winds are forecast to be less than 15 mph for the near and long future.  With weather becoming “normal” again, we should start seeing raptors in average numbers again (hundreds).  The forecasts change hour to hour here more than anywhere I’ve ever been, but if the forecasts are correct, then Tuesday looks very promising.  If it stays that way (moderate NW winds) a 750+ raptor day is probable.

Hawk Count-October 9th-14th

Afternoon Conditions on Friday, the 12th

The first half of October has continued to be plagued by bad weather for hawk migration.  On the 9th there was heavy fog till noon.  On the 10th there was heavy fog throughout the day and rain in the afternoon.  On the 11th there were steady 25 mph SW winds, frequently gusting to 35 mph, all day long.  On the 12th there was sleet throughout the day transitioning into rain late.  On the 12th and to start the 13th it has looked (and felt!) much more like November than October.  Temperatures have been around 10 degrees cooler than normal for this time of year.  Despite the weather, there have been some signs that birds are wanting to move, and the 12th-13th probably had what would be raptors in average numbers for Pt. LaBarbe at this date.

There’s not much to speak of from the 9th through the 11th apart from a nice pulse of Sharp-shinned Hawks on the 9th.  A total of 126 pushed through in just a few hours after the fog lifted.

The 12th and the 13th have been incredibly similar to one another, with the addition of a few more species on the 13th.  A total of 369 raptors were tallied on the 12th, and 361 raptors were tallied on the 13th.  The breakdown of these two days’ species totals are side-by-side below, with the 12th first and the 13th second.

Turkey Vulture: 216, 202

Bald Eagle: 5, 6

Northern Harrier: 4, 5

Sharp-shinned Hawk: 56, 33

Cooper’s Hawk: 3, 1

Northern Goshawk: 0, 1

Red-shouldered Hawk: 8, 8

Broad-winged Hawk: 4, 0

Red-tailed Hawk: 65, 99

American Kestrel: 2, 1

Merlin: 0, 1

Peregrine Falcon: 1, 1

 

Apart from some Turkey Vultures crossing early this morning, it was a surprisingly dead day.  It was a darker overcast day than normal, but no wind seemed like decent conditions.

Turkey Vultures and Red-tailed Hawks have remained consistent the past two days and in numbers probably close to normal for the time of year.  Sharp-shinned Hawks have tailed off, suggesting their triple digit days may now be over.  The pick up in Red-shouldered Hawks has been nice to see, as was the prolonged look at an adult Northern Goshawk yesterday.

This adult Northern Goshawk gave some uncharacteristically prolonged views for several minutes before flying south to Green Island and then crossing the straits

Red-shouldered Hawk

Non-raptors have been comprised of many of the same as the past few weeks.  There has been an increase in diversity and numbers of waterfowl streaming past.  Two-hundred Sandhill Cranes on the 12th was nice and pushed us over 3,000 for the season Eleven Snow Geese (including 7 blue morph) flew by on the 13th.  Large numbers of American Crows having been crossing, with nearly 1,500 in the past three days Blue Jays have been moving in good numbers again and their season total is nearly 5,000 now.

Over 1,000 American Crows have flown south in the past few days

The near future continues to look bleak for raptor migration.  Rain, snow, and many really windy days are all forecast for the upcoming week.  When this poor weather finally ends it may really bust open though, particularly with Turkey Vultures, Red-tailed Hawks, and, if the weather is favorable sooner rather than later, Sharp-shinned Hawks.

Hawk Count-Past Few Weeks

Turkey Vultures have been by far the predominant raptor the past few weeks, with Sharpies in moderate numbers some days, and Peregrines putting on a nice show.  Highlights will be gone over on an individual species basis, except for those on October 2nd, which will be more detailed.

Turkey Vulture-Notable counts include 161 on the 27th, 262 on the 28th, and 242 on October 1st.

Osprey have been in very thin numbers, with the latest on October 2nd.

Bald Eagles have been in low numbers, with a peak of 14 on the 28th during the period.

Northern Harriers have been largely absent, with a peak of 3 on the 26th.

Sharp-shinned Hawks have been the next most dominant raptor the past few weeks, with notable counts of 75-79 on the 26th through 28th, and 71 on October 6th.

Cooper’s Hawks have been in small numbers with a peak of 3 on the 7th.

Red-shouldered Hawks have been slowly increasing with a peak of 4 on the 4th.

Broad-winged Hawks have been surprisingly consistent, with a peak of 28 on the 28th.

Red-tailed Hawks have been steadily increasing, with a peak of 48 on October 1st (outside of the 2nd).

Rough-legged Hawk-a few more have gone through, with individuals on the 27th, 1st, and 6th.

Golden Eagle-another bird passed through on the 4th.

American Kestrels have been steady, with a peak of 22 on the 27th.

Merlin also peaked on the 27th, with 3.

Peregrine Falcons have been rather nice, with a daily stretch of them from September 24th through September 30th.  They peaked on the 27th with 7 birds.

Sandhill Cranes, Blackbirds, Pipits, Longspurs, Horned Larks, Black-capped Chickadees, and Palm Warblers have been in good numbers.  Notable others include Cackling Geese, Snow Geese, Red-throated Loons, American Golden-Plovers, Red-bellied Woodpecker, and a continuing Carolina Wren.

October 2nd was the nicest day of the period, with over 3,000 birds recorded for the day.  Over 1,000 of these were raptors.  The breakdown was: Turkey Vulture-576, Osprey-1, Bald Eagle-12, Sharp-shinned Hawk-204, Cooper’s Hawk-1, Red-shouldered Hawk-1, Broad-winged Hawk-11, Red-tailed Hawk-211, American Kestrel-11, and Peregrine Falcon-1.  Also notable were 1,487 Sandhill Cranes, 170 Rusty Blackbirds, and 192 Pine Siskins.

Monarchs have been about every other day now (probably due to weather), with 33 on the 28th the highest count of the period.

Hawk Count and Other Goodies-September 18th-22nd

Raptors:  The forecast was incorrect for most of the last 5 days, but the raptor migration has continued to be great, with nearly 800 raptors in the last 5 days.

September 18th:  Rather than having moderate NE winds, it was variable winds to light to west winds.  Raptors remained good though, with 175 tallied.  The biggest highlight was a rather early subadult Golden Eagle.  The bird circled with some vultures for a short period before crossing the straits.  Six additional species of raptors met or exceeded their peaks for the season.  They were: Osprey-3, Northern Harrier-8, Red-tailed Hawk-7, American Kestrel-22, Merlin-1, and Peregrine Falcon-2.  Four Northern Harriers came high together which was pretty neat.  Also, every Broad-winged Hawk crossed (18), as well as 17 of the 24 Vultures.

September 19th: The winds ended up being easterly the entire day which led to a similar day as the previous, but with less numbers and species.  Fifty-six Sharpies and 6 Northern Harriers were the standouts.

September 20th: The rain hit early in the day, although a lone Merlin crossed the straits before the rain started coming down hard.

September 21st: Extremely strong winds exceeding 50 mph at times led to no count being conducted.

September 22nd:  The best day of the period and the season.  In fact, today more than doubled our previous daily season high (of 225 raptors).  A total of 501 raptors were recorded today, with the period between 10 and 11 best.  A total of 165 raptors were recorded this hour alone, which would make this the 7th best day of the season, if that was all there was to the count today.  The winds were very light during this hour and 99 Turkey Vultures, 43 Bald Eagles, 6 Sharp-shinned Hawks, 16 Broad-winged Hawks, and 1 Red-tailed Hawk all took advantage and all crossed the straits.  Bald Eagles and Turkey Vultures remained strong for the next few hours, before Sharp-shinned Hawks took over the flight for most of the rest of the day.  Sprinkled in the flight were 2 rather early Rough-legged Hawks.  One was a light morph juvenile, while the other was a light morph adult female.  Four additional raptors exceeded their previous season peaks.  They were: 178 Turkey Vultures, 119 Bald Eagles, 122 Sharp-shinned Hawks, and 17 Red-tailed Hawks.  Most raptors crossed today, including 140 of the Turkey Vultures, all but 3 Red-taileds, and all Bald Eagles (except locals).  Overall, an excellent day of migration.

Golden Eagle on the 18th

Rough-legged Hawk today (the 22nd)

One of many Bald Eagles today

Red-taileds had their first push today, with 18 birds

Non-raptors: 

September 18th: The best day of the period with many flocks of Canada Geese, resulting in a day total of 738.  Mixed in with these flocks were 1 Snow Goose, 1 Snow/Ross’s Goose, as well as a group of 3 Snow Geese by themselves.  Sandhill Cranes made their first big push of the season, with 196 recorded.  Other highlights included American Golden-Plover-4, Semipalmated Plover-1, Least Sandpiper-2, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker-1, Red-bellied Woodpecker-1, Eastern Wood-Pewee-1, Blue Jay-112, and the first Horned Larks (2), American Pipit (2), and Lapland Longspur (1) of the season.

September 19th: Highlights included American Golden-Plover-1, Least Sandpiper-1, Solitary Sandpiper-1, Lesser Yellowlegs-2, Eastern Bluebird-1, American Pipit-16, and Rusty Blackbird-44

September 20th: The day’s few highlights at the count site included an American Golden-Plover and a Semipalmated Plover.

September 22nd:  Highlights included Canada Goose-499, Snow/Ross’s Goose-1, Redhead-77, Red-throated Loon-2, Common Loon-9, Sandhill Crane-39, American Golden-Plover-7, Greater Yellowlegs-1, Lesser Yellowlegs-1, Blue Jay-162, and American Pipit-14.

This Pileated Woodpecker flew around in circles for a few minutes at the count site, providing excellent views

Pileated Woodpecker

Snow Geese

A lone American Golden-Plover has occasionally been on the ground

Most American Golden-Plovers have been fly-bys though

Monarchs: Smallish numbers continue with the best days being 38 on the 18th and 26 on the 22nd.

Bonus: On the evening of the 18th, Kyle and I headed to Point Iroquois.  Highlights included over 300 Canada Geese, 1 Cackling Goose, and 1 Red-throated Loon.

In the rain on the 20th, Steve and I had a rather great day of birding in the eastern U.P. from SW of Rudyard to Munuscong WMA to Cedarville.  The best of the day was 11 shorebird species, including a Hudsonian Godwit (which also called).  Other highlights included Snow Geese-3, Canada Geese-600+, most dabbling ducks, American Pipits-300+, Lapland Longspur-5+, Barred Owl-1 probable, American Bittern-1, Black-crowned Night-Heron-1, Virginia Rail-1, Sora-1, American Golden-Plover-11, Black-bellied Plover-2, Rusty Blackbird-8 in the surprising location of a field on Hantz, Sandhill Crane-700+, and a Yellow-rumped Warbler eating bugs while hopping from one lily pad to another.

In the wind on the 21st, Jessica and I went to Cheboygan State Park.  At least 6 Ruffed Grouse were the only noteworthy birds, but the wind made things rather interesting.  At least 4 trees fell down when we were walking the woods, and we were able to watch as Cedar Trees were literally being uprooted.  I hope to post that video here eventually.

An Osprey over town today was the last ‘other’ of interest of the period.

Snow Geese have been surprisingly regular lately

Hawk Count-September 15th-17th

Raptors:  Raptors have continued to be steady these past 3 days.  Hardly any wind on the 15th and 16th resulted in nearly every raptor being high, while the moderate SW winds today resulted in nearly every raptor low.

The 15th had another nice day of diversity, with 10 raptor species recorded.  The bulk of these were Sharp-shinned Hawks (80) and Broad-winged Hawks (56).  All 3 falcon species were recorded, as well as 2 Osprey and a Northern Harrier.  Forty-five of the 56 Broad-wingeds crossed, as well as 8 of the 10 Turkey Vultures.

The 16th was similar to the 15th, although the Bald Eagle count was higher with 24 on the former and on the latter date.  Twenty Broad-wingeds crossed, as well as 16 of the 22 Turkey Vultures.

Today was mostly Sharpies attempting to cross (perhaps 2/3 unsuccessfully) before eventually heading east.  A brief pulse between 2:00 and 2:15 of 8 American Kestrels was just a tease before they quickly tapered off.

Non-raptors:  Highlights the past few days have included Green-winged Teal, Solitary Sandpiper, at least 14 warbler speciesPectoral Sandpiper, Greater Yellowlegs, Common Nighthawk, American Golden-Plover, American Wigeon, Redhead, Rock Pigeon, Ruby-throated Hummingbird, a probable Yellow-throated Vireo, and an increase in Blue Jays.

A pair of Parulas

Common Nighthawk

Best of the next 5 days:  While the next 5 days should be a nice stretch of raptor migration, it’s not as good or straightforward as it was just a few days ago.  Tomorrow, Tuesday, should be a great day, and the day most likely to be the best of the next 5, with hundreds of raptors likely moving throughWednesday and Friday are too tough to tell what will happen right now, but a couple hundred raptors should move through on each day, particularly on Wednesday.  Thursday looks like rain all day and Saturday should see a result similar to the last 3 days, or slightly better.

Hawk Count and Woodpeckers-September 12th-14th

Raptors:  Raptors have been rather good the last 2 days and slowish on the 12th.  Highlights on the 12th included a lone Osprey, and a Peregrine Falcon that remained in the general area for most of the day, including making a really nice pass over the count site.

Yesterday’s 202 raptors were dominated by 4 species: 58 Turkey Vultures, 21 Bald Eagles, 87 Sharp-shinned Hawks, and 26 Broad-winged Hawks.  Of the 58 Vultures, 38 crossed the straits, while just 2 Broad-winged Hawks made the crossing.  A total of 9 American Kestrels was the second best day this season, and the last three days have seen them start to pick up.

Today’s flight of 190 birds was dominated by 3 species, all of which have seen their best days so far this season.  Sharp-shinned Hawks reached triple digits for the first time, with 108 recorded.  Broad-wingeds had their best showing thus far with 48 birds, and 13 American Kestrels was rather nice to see.  A single Northern Harrier was the first in 12 days, but hopefully they will start picking up when the weather finally shifts.

Up to half of the Sharpies crossed the lake today, mostly before the wind started to ‘pick up’, (from no wind, that is) while most of the rest flew towards the east side of the point.  Relatively few (6-8) appeared to linger around the point.  Broad-winged Hawks remained off to the north and northeast throughout the day, building their lone kettle most hours until around 2:00.  No attempt at crossing was made.  American Kestrels frequented the telephone wires for most of the day.  A few would be on the wires briefly before deciding to make the crossing some time later.  Shortly after they crossed, a few more would replenish those that had left on the wires.  Most of the time it was 2 birds, but up to 4 were seen simultaneously.  All combinations were seen on the wires at some point (male-male, female-female, and male-female).  A few successfully caught dragonflies as well.

The Peregrine that passed over the count site

The lone Osprey on the 12th

One of the Kestrels that caught a (presumed) dragonfly

Non-raptors: Woodpeckers have been the highlights of the past few days.  A Red-headed Woodpecker today, and a Red-bellied Woodpecker on the 12th are both relatively rare species in the U.P., especially the former.  Downy, Hairy, Pileated, and Northern Flicker have all been seen the last few days, making for 6 species of woodpeckers, and a new fall goal: to see all of the annual woodpeckers in Michigan in one season at one site.  Only Yellow-bellied Sapsucker and Black-backed Woodpecker remain to be seen this season.  Yellow-bellied should be relatively easy, while Black-backed should be relatively hard.

Other highlights the past few days include Solitary Sandpiper, Lesser Yellowlegs, an Eastern Bluebird, and a continued finch flight, dominated by American Goldfinches.

Red-bellied Woodpecker (with Blue Jay)

Monarchs:  Just 24 the past 3 days.

Best of the next 5 days:  The weather pattern of light, southerly winds is finally coming to an end in the near future.  The next 3 days looks like more of the same weather (light southerly winds, mostly sunny), which is likely to see results most similar to today and yesterday.  In fact, more birds may actually be seen, as the forecast appears to be 10-30% cloud cover on each day (which makes spotting high raptors easier) versus the very unusual (for the area) 5 day stretch of nearly cloudless skies.

As good as the past few days have been, and are likely to continue to be good for the next 3 days, Tuesday is likely to be the start of one of the best stretches of hawk migration of the season.  Wednesday currently looks like it’ll be one of the best days of the season, with one of the best Sharpie and Broad-winged days likely (Sharpies-hundreds, Broad-wingeds-dozens to possibly hundreds).  Beyond that looks like more northerly winds, so hopefully this forecast remains true.  If it does, we should have 3,000+ raptors the second half of September.

Hawk Count and Western Kingbird-September 11th

Raptors:  It was a decent day for raptors, with Sharp-shinned Hawks saving the count.  49 of the 55 raptors were Sharpies.  A fair amount of Sharpies were milling around during the last hour of the count, so there may be a nice, small push of them early tomorrow morning, and a good day for them overall.

The day’s lone migrant Bald Eagle

Non-raptors:  A Western Kingbird was undoubtedly the day’s, and one of the season’s, highlights.  The bird was initially detected when it gave a few ‘kip’ calls, and was subsequently seen flying east across the open area in front of the hawk counting site.  The bird briefly perched on a cedar before flying further east to a spruce, then another spruce, and then out of sight to the east.  Sadly, this entire encounter only lasted 4 minutes before the bird was never seen again.

Ten Common Loons was the most seen so far this season, as was 27 Blue Jays.  Other notables included an American Golden-Plover, Least Sandpiper, and 89 American Goldfinches.

Western Kingbird

Western Kingbird

Monarchs:  Just 3 were detected.

Best of the next 5 days:  The weather continues to look similar for the next 5 days, making the better days harder to predict.  Sharpies should be consistent throughout the period, possibly picking up on some days, and Bald Eagles are likely to push through on some of these days as well.

Hawk Count-September 2nd through 10th

Thanks to Ed and Steve for covering for me, while I was downstate for several days.

Raptors:  Raptors have been fairly good for the first third of September and rather great the last 2 days, considering the east winds.  Most noteworthy were 122 raptors on the 2nd, 225 raptors on the 9th, and 119 raptors today.  The 1,000th raptor of the season flew by today.

Yesterday, the 9th, had a rather excellent early season total of 80 Turkey Vultures, while the total of 58 Turkey Vultures on the 2nd, wasn’t too shabby either.  From the twenty-one Vultures tallied on August 30th to the 80 yesterday, this is the earliest I’ve personally seen Turkey Vultures, in numbers, clearly migrating.  Of the 80 yesterday, 41 crossed over the straits at some point during the day, with an additional 39 lingering around the count site.  Of the 39, about half made half-hearted attempts at crossing the straits but eventually came back to the general count site area.  Many vultures were crossing at the western tip of the point and were only visible crossing the straits in the scope.  Broad-winged Hawks have been consistently around 30 most of the past 4 days.  Some of these have crossed as well, mostly before noon.  Sharp-shinned Hawks are just starting their month or more peak period, with 84 yesterday and 57 today.  Interestingly, nearly all have been flying east across the point, directly into the moderate to strong east winds.  Bald Eagles have been steady and American Kestrels had their best day so far on the 8th, with 11 birds.  An Osprey spiced things up today, the first detected in a week.

Broad-winged Hawk

Turkey Vultures

Non-raptors: The 6th was by far the most interesting day, the best of which were 2 Blue-gray Gnatcatchers, an early Rusty Blackbird, a Green Heron, and 3 Rock Pigeons.  14 warbler species were nice this day as well, including 13 Palm.  The other rarity of the period was a lone Dickcissel on the 2nd.

Canada Geese are beginning to migrate, with 180 in the last few days.  A few shorebird species have been flying over most days, the best of which have been a lone American Golden-Plover on the 8th, and Semipalmated Plover and Solitary Sandpiper on the 6th.  Cedar Waxwings had their best day so far on the 2nd, with 271 birds.  Three finch species have been daily, with over 300 American Goldfinches the last several days.

A rather early Rusty Blackbird

Green Heron

Rock Pigeons may be relatively rare at Point LaBarbe

Monarchs: Monarchs have been steadily dwindling, especially the last 4 days.  The biggest day during the period was on the 3rd with 579 Monarchs.  Other notable days included 294 on the 2nd and 246 on the 6th.

Best of the next 5 days:  Mostly SW to SE winds appear to dominate the next 5 days.  Not ideal, but Bald Eagles have been moving in fairly good numbers on these types of days, particularly between 11 and 1.  It’ll be interesting to see if they move consistently on each of these days or pick a few days versus others.

Hawk Count-September 1st

Raptors:  Scattered rain throughout most of the day led to only one raptor being tallied-a Sharp-shinned Hawk.

Non-raptors:  Solitary Sandpiper was the most interesting bird of the day.

Monarchs: A total of 12 were tallied for the day.

Best of the next 5 days:  Thursday looks like the best of the next 5 days, although Monday may be good as well.  Lots of rain throughout the next 4 days.