Hawk Count-August 21st Through 25th

Porcupine on the morning of the 22nd

Raptors: Bald Eagles and Turkey Vultures have been steady and in fairly good, early season numbers. Everything else, not so much. The northerly winds predicted for 3 days straight didn’t occur for more than a few hours in a row, nor were they nearly as strong as predicted. The first Northern Harrier and Red-shouldered Hawk of the season headed out over the lake on the 21st and the first migrant American Kestrel was seen on the 24th. Including non-migrants, 8 raptor species have been present most days. The first push of Turkey Vultures occurred on the 23rd, with 27 birds recorded. On the 22nd, 31 Bald Eagles were in view at one time at one point in the day. Unfortunately, most of these stayed to the northwest on this day. Today, however, Bald Eagles had a nice pulse of migration. Twenty-four Bald Eagles flew south in 35 minutes (12:00-12:35) and ended the day with a total of 31 birds. Similar to last year in August/September, (and this post https://www.mackinacraptorwatch.org/2018/09/hawk-count-august-31st/) 4-10 Bald Eagles were ‘kettled up’ in the northwest and then streamed across the straits in groups of 3-5 birds. 1-2 local Peregrine Falcons have been present on a few days.

Peregrine Falcons

Non-raptors: Not much has been moving through in any kind of numbers, but there has been decent diversity. A Hooded Merganser was on the lake for most of the day on the 23rd. A Sora briefly flew up out of a ditch on the same day and two Sandhill Cranes have been daily since this day as well. Shorebirds of interest the last few days include Semipalmated Plover, Least Sandpiper, and Greater Yellowlegs. Common Loons have been flying over most days. A couple of Alder and Least Flycatchers have been calling in the mornings. Two Marsh Wrens were present the morning of the 23rd. A House Finch flew east over the point this morning. A few Bobolinks and Indigo Buntings have been streaming over some days. Warblers have been disappointing so far in terms of numbers and daily diversity. Most interesting has been an Ovenbird and two Northern Waterthrushes.

Monarchs: Monarchs have been slow the last 3 days. However, 123 and 202 were recorded on the 22nd and 21st respectively, during count hours.

Best of the next 5 days: Strong southerly winds are predicted Monday-Thursday which is likely to result in few birds and Monarchs moving. If the forecast holds true, Friday will be the best day of the next 5. There are currently conflicting forecasts, but one forecast has moderate to strong west-northwest winds.