Hawk Count-August 26th Through 29th

Raptors: There’ve been two poor days and two good days. The good days have been completely dominated by Bald Eagles. August 27th tallied 33 Bald Eagles for the day, including 21 birds in a period of one hour. Today, August 29th, tallied 44 Bald Eagles, including 29 birds in one hour. Interestingly, these two days both had their Bald Eagle daily peak occur between 10 AM and 11 AM. Last season, 74% of all Bald Eagles tallied occurred between the hours of 11 AM and 2 PM. However, the next biggest hour for Bald Eagles last year (the 4th best hour) occurred between 10 AM and 11 AM (and contained 13% of all Bald Eagles recorded). Additionally, the hour between 10 AM and 11 AM contained the highest number of Bald Eagles in a one-hour span last season, with 43 birds (tallied on September 22nd). It’ll be interesting to see how it plays out the rest of this season and if the hours between 11 AM and 2 PM once again become the 3 best hours for Bald Eagles. It was the case for the first two notable Bald Eagle days this season (August 20th and August 25th).

Other than Bald Eagles, not much has been moving through. Northern Harriers have been seen most days, and the 5 birds tallied today may be one of the top 5 days this season.

Bald Eagles have been then highlight thus far
Northern Harriers had their best day of the season so far, with 5 birds recorded

Non-raptors: Not much to speak of. Around half a dozen Common Loons have flown over most days. 30 Barn Swallows on the 26th was the most this season. A Hooded Merganser was on the lake a few days, and Ruby-throated Hummingbirds have been crossing the lake daily, albeit in rather small numbers.

Common Loons are daily

Monarchs: Monarchs continue to pass through in very small numbers, with a peak of 33 on the 26th, during the period. Today only tallied 14. The way the Monarchs have been recently, it’s hard to believe that a year ago today tallied 5,484 Monarchs (https://www.mackinacraptorwatch.org/2018/08/hawk-count-and-tons-of-monarchs-august-29th/). However, there is still hope that good numbers may be coming in the near future.

Best of the next 5 days:

Raptors-It’s quite hard to predict which will be the next best day in the near future. Tomorrow is calling for strong west-northwest winds which could result in the best day so far this season, or be mostly a bust. After that, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday have rather similar forecasts, with light, mostly southerly winds. Every day we get closer to Tuesday has increased the chance for rain and/or thunderstorms that day, so that day can be ruled out. It does seem like the next 4 days will have similar results to the last 3 days of August last year (https://hawkcount.org/month_summary.php?rsite=799&ryear=2018&rmonth=08). There should be an increase in the number of Turkey Vultures, Osprey, Northern Harriers, Sharpies, Broad-wingeds, and Kestrels. There should be at least one more good day of Bald Eagles during this period as well.

Monarchs-Likewise, it’s hard to predict what the Monarchs will do, but the next 5-8 days should set the tone for how the rest of the season will play out for them. The two best days last year occurred during light, mostly northerly winds. In fact, there was even a rain until 11 AM on the peak Monarch day last year. Tomorrow has a northerly component to the wind, but it’s much stronger. 100+ Monarchs/day were moving last year during this time of year on light, southerly winds, which is what will mostly be the case Saturday through Monday. Longer forecasts are all showing Wednesday and Thursday to be when the next cold front/northerly winds occur. If these forecasts hold true, then we will know by the end of Thursday (September 5th) if Monarchs will be moving through in numbers similar to last year.