There was a good movement of Red-tailed Hawks along the north shore of Lake Michigan on October 20. While birding at Pt. Labarbe in the late morning a loose kettle of a dozen Red-tails was seen. Traveling west on US-2 , many more Red-tails were noted , generally drifting east. Best observation sites were the bluffs at the two picnic areas on US-2. At least 90 Red-tails were observed in about 45 minutes. Other migrating raptors seen were several Bald Eagles and a few Sharp-shinned Hawks.
submitted by Steve Baker
There was an uptick in migration on Tuesday with strong NW winds and a mostly cloudy sky. Waterfowl were joined by a nice mix of raptors and the beginning waves of Sandhill Cranes. Steve Baker and Ed Pike observed from 7:30 am to 1 pm. Highlights included 91 Common Loons, 175 Canada Geese, 140 Redheads, 54 White-winged Scoters, and 7 Red-necked Grebes. Many duck flocks were too distant to identify to species and were listed as Aythya ducks(379) or unidentified ducks(735).
Raptors seen were Bald Eagle(12), N. harrier(4), Red-tailed hawk(1), Sharp-shinned Hawk(1). Sandhills totalled 100 and I suspect many more came later in the day as the sun broke through .
An interesting finding was that from McGulpin Point we could identify Turkey Vultures soaring over US-2 on the north side, a distance of 5 miles.
Well it looks like Hawkcount is still down, so here is a quick update. April 30 and May 1 were big Broad-wing days with several thousand each day. Golden Eagles still regular. The weekend looks great with lots of sunshine so come enjoy the migration .
Hawk count is out of commission today so this note will be a sort of update. I don’t have Kevin’s numbers but can tell you there were at least 10 Golden Eagles , many Bald Eagles, a thousand plus Broad-wings, and a nice assortment of other raptors.
The other cool birds were 9 Bonaparts Gulls, a lone Lapland Longspur, and a line of 5 White Pelicans.
The weekend looks promising weather wise and there should be more birds in the pipeline so come and enjoy the show.
Another great day at the hawk watch. A steady stream of raptors overhead delighted the many visitors and kept Kevin busy. The highlight was a luecystic Red-tail that made repeated appearances in kettles directly overhead. This bird appeared brilliant white , especially when backlit by the sun. Photos show what the eye could not, as there are obvious chest streaking , a hint of patagium markings, and a streaked head. Still a very stunning individual and a real crowd pleaser. Behaviorally this bird was a bit of a loner, hanging out on the edge of the kettles. Ring-billed Gulls singled out this bird for harrassment as well.
Today’s Golden Eagles were all immature birds and most visitors to the hawk watch were able to see one of these special raptors.
H Big crowd at Darrow’s field on a week day.
Support from Mackinaw City
East winds are seldom productive and today was no exception. Every once in awhile a wind shift would briefly stir the pot and some kettles would stream north. For a week day there was a great turnout of hawk people and we all enjoyed the banter between veterans and newbies.
Jim Veller captured a beautiful immature a Golden Eagle shot and Jack Kirby shared the people shots.
Today was a very rare day at the hawk watch. Every regularly occurring species of raptor ( 15 species) on the checklist was seen on this day. All 3 falcon species, all 3 Accipitors , the 4 Buteos, both Eagles, Osprey, Turkey Vulture, and Northern Harrier . The season’s first Broad-winged Hawk made it back from South America and soon there were hundreds moving north. Red-tails were steady all day with many kettles overhead. A very cooperative Perigrine flew directly over the counters not just once, but returned for an encore .
Visitors from the Thunder Bay Audubon enjoyed the day at the count, but had to leave without seeing a Golden Eagle when a handsome immature GE soared by just in time. I think they toasted that one at the Keyhole Bar down the street. Other highlights were the first of season Osprey and a couple of dark morph Red-tails and an intermediate morph bird that was a beautiful rufous color.
Immature birds of each Eagle species soared above the crowd.
Golden Eagle and Bald Eagle, immatures
Golden Eagle, immaturen
Bald Eagles, adult and immature
Migration was strong today and Red-tailed Hawks were the dominant sighting. The first immature RT of the season soared over. A large group of hawk watchers were treated to several low altitude fly overs of both Bald and Golden Eagles. First an immature BE was joined by an adult BE as they circled directly over the gawking crowd below. The excitement peaked when a stunning immature Golden Eagle soared in tandem with an immature Bald Eagle . They passed over the amazed hawk watchers twice before continuing north. Lots of oohs and ahhs and clicking cameras were heard. Even the first time visitors to the hawk watch were enthralled by this spectacle. Keep your eyes to the skies!
Cold NE winds this day had expectations low . Clearing skies by mid afternoon brought out the raptors as thermals developed quickly. Kettles of 50 birds plus several strings of sqauking Sandhill Cranes made for a nice finish to the afternoon. This day wrapped up the first month of the hawk count and Kevin’s tally of Red-tails is already over 5000 . The Golden Eagle numbers are at 297, a total unimaginable to us all before this season. We still await rarities such as Swainson’s Hawk and Black Vulture. A few days of warm spring air would be welcomed as well. Steve Baker