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Fall Hawk count summary 2017

It appears the fall Hawk Count has ended; I thought we would have a few more good days, but that has not happened. A few more observations may occur if there is a break in the weather and the skies clear over the Straits and the winds are not gusting 30 to 40 miles per hour. The last official day of counting was on Nov. 10. Since that date the weather has not cooperated. It has been cloudy, very windy or precipitating every day (some days it was clear south of Gaylord with heavy clouds over the Straits) which doesn’t lead to many raptors moving.
We feel we had a good preliminary count with a total of 241 hrs. of observation by Steve Baker and Ed Pike with assistance from Bruce Seeger, Jack and Bev Kirby, Sue Stewart, and Sue Bissell with many people stopping by to witness the migration. A number of comments were made that Point LaBarbe is a great place for a Hawk watch with many raptors flying low enough for good views. (There were also days when the Raptors looked like dots in the sky.) The count occurred from August 25 through Nov. 10. A total of 8719 individual Raptors were counted of 15 species (daily results can be found at HawkCount.org). Not many Broad-winged Hawks were observed which was expected since there are reports every fall of thousands of Broad-wings flying southwest along the Lake Michigan shoreline in the area east of Escanaba. We did count good numbers of Red-tails (2,451) and Sharp-shinned Hawks (1,985). On Oct. 11 a peak count occurred with 698 raptors counted. On Oct. 29 a one day record for Michigan in the fall; 86 Rough-legged Hawks were counted; with 46 counted on the 28 th giving a total fall count of 211 Rough-legs (our spring counts average 160 Rough-legged).
We hope to be able to continue the fall Hawk Count in the fall of 2018 conducting a full count possibly with a contract Hawk Counter.
Hope to see you for the spring 2018 Hawk Count at Mackinaw City.

Waterbird Count – 9 November

Crazy snow and wind today! I started the count at ten twenty once the snow stopped, and even without the busier hours this morning it was still a pretty active day for the count. Heaviest winds of the season (gusting over 35mph) were shaking my car on the beach and making for some pretty intense waves, but lots of goldeneyes on the move despite that.
White-winged Scoter – 15
Scoter sp. – 6
Long-tailed Duck – 16
Common Goldeneye – 72
Common Merganser – 9
Red-breasted Merganser – 1
Duck sp. – 33
Ring-billed Gull – 4
Herring Gull – 5
Other species:
Bald Eagle – 3
American Crow – 2

Waterbird Count – 8 November

Similar weather today to the last few days, but a bit more activity in terms of duck movement. It was mostly Mergansers and Goldeneye moving again, but the first Greater Scaup that I’ve had in a couple weeks flew by as well. My personal highlight for the day was watching two adult Bald Eagles tussle in mid-air as they passed through the straits, frequently doing complete somersaults in the air to bare their talons at each other.
Greater Scaup – 1
Surf Scoter – 7
White-winged Scoter – 7
Long-tailed Duck – 19
Common Goldeneye – 26
Common Merganser – 4
Red-breasted Merganser – 38
Loon sp. – 1
Red-necked Grebe – 1
Ring-billed Gull – 3
Herring Gull – 2
Other species:
Bald Eagle – 2
American Crow – 15

Waterbird Count – 7 November

The wind quieted down a bit since yesterday, but it was still pretty breezy out of the west today. It was another pretty quiet day for ducks despite that, and unfortunately the Harlequin didn’t make a reappearance.

Redhead – 5

White-winged Scoter – 36

scoter sp. – 8

Long-tailed Duck – 1

Bufflehead – 2

Common Goldeneye – 11

Common Merganser – 6

Red-breasted Merganser – 17

duck sp. – 13

Ring-billed Gull – 2

Herring Gull – 2

 

Other species:

Bald Eagle – 1

American Crow – 4

Hawk Count Nov. 7

Today Ed Pike, Steve Baker and Bruce Seeger counted raptors with Jack and Bev Kirby stopping by for a visit. It was cold (28 at 8:30 and 38 by noon) with northwest winds, peaks of sunshine. Few raptors were flying with those that were flying were very high. We did see one Golden Eagle and a few Red-tails. 4 “V’s” of Sandhill Cranes flew south across the Straits. Still hoping for more Rough-legged Hawks and Golden Eagles; maybe a Snowy Owl.
Golden Eagle 1
Bald Eagle 3
Red-tailed Hawk 5
Unidentified Buteo 2
Sandhill Crane 69

Waterbird Count – 6 November

Strong northwest winds today and colder temps than the last few days brought more activity through the straits today, but the primary species present was again Red-breasted Mergansers. After five days with no sign of the Harlequin, I was thinking that it had moved on, but I was pleased to see it land right out from the beach again this morning. It spent about an hour loafing on the water before flying off right as Carol showed up to see it. Glad to see that it’s still alive and well!
Mallard – 1
Redhead – 30
Harlequin Duck – 1
White-winged Scoter – 6
Long-tailed Duck – 11
Bufflehead – 3
Common Goldeneye – 18
Common Merganser – 7
Red-breasted Merganser – 17
duck sp. – 50
Horned Grebe – 1
Ring-billed Gull – 2
Herring Gull – 1
Other species:
Northern Harrier – 1
Bald Eagle – 3
American Crow – 1

Waterbird Count – 5 November

Another rainy, foggy day today. It was pretty quiet again, with light south winds and low visibility throughout the count until it eventually got hazy enough in the afternoon that I called it a bit early. More stuff was moving today than yesterday, with several small groups of Buffleheads  and Common Goldeneye moving, and a larger flock of White-winged Scoters heading west. Bruce stopped by for a few hours, since it was too foggy for much to be happening over at the hawk watch. Looks as if the weather tomorrow might kick some ducks up, so we’ll see what happens! Hoping the last week of the count is a busy one.

 

Mallard – 2

White-winged Scoter – 21

Long-tailed Duck – 36

Bufflehead – 36

Common Goldeneye – 25

Common Merganser – 4

Red-breasted Merganser – 41

Common Loon – 1

Horned Grebe – 2

Double-crested Cormorant – 1

Ring-billed Gull – 2

Herring Gull – 1

 

Waterbird Count – 4 November

Heavy snow and visibility of about a quarter mile met me when I headed into McGulpin this morning, so the start of the count was delayed until the snow blew over at around eleven. Snow persisted on and off until around noon, when it eventually cleared up enough that I could see St Helena again, but the rest of the count was very slow as the snow turned into a steady drizzle. One flock of Redheads, and some Red-breasted Mergansers were about it for the afternoon.
Redhead – 25
White-winged Scoter – 4
Common Merganser – 2
Red-breasted Merganser – 37
Duck sp. – 73
Common Loon – 1
Horned Grebe – 1
Double-crested Cormorant – 1
Ring-billed Gull – 3
Herring Gull – 1
Other species:
Bald Eagle – 1
Black-capped Chickadee – 5

Waterbird Count – 3 November

Much windier day today, blowing out of the northwest. Most of the bird activity today was Red-breasted Mergansers again and some smaller groups of Buffleheads and Goldeneye. No reappearance from the Harlequin, though the waves were rough enough that it may have gone unnoticed if it was farther out from shore.
Mallard – 1
White-winged Scoter – 8
Black Scoter – 2
Long-tailed Duck – 24
Bufflehead – 43
Common Goldeneye – 10
Common Merganser – 3
Red-breasted Merganser – 68
Merganser sp. – 20
Duck sp. – 67
Common Loon – 1
Loon sp. – 1
Horned Grebe – 2
Ring-billed Gull – 3
Herring Gull – 4
Other species:
Bald Eagle – 1
Common Raven – 1

Waterbird Count – 2 November

Surprisingly quiet day today at the waterbird count, given that the south winds of yesterday grew northerly in the night. Some Buffleheads and Long-tails were still on the move, and large numbers of Red-breasted Mergansers were loafing on the water throughout the day, but overall numbers of moving ducks were much lower than they were in yesterday’s calm south winds.
White-winged Scoter – 1
Long-tailed Duck – 28
Bufflehead – 28
Common Goldeneye – 3
Common Merganser – 9
Red-breasted Merganser – 42
Duck sp. – 64
Horned Grebe – 2
Double-crested Cormorant – 1
Ring-billed Gull – 2
Herring Gull – 3
Other species:
Bald Eagle – 1
Sandhill Crane – 3
Blue Jay – 1
American Crow – 1
Black-capped Chickadee – 5