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.

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