Hawk Count-August 30th Through September 4th

Raptors: Raptors have continued to remain slow through the period. The best day was on August 31st, with 50 individuals tallied, comprised of 8 species. The breakdown for that day was Turkey Vulture-6, Osprey-2, Bald Eagle-23, Northern Harrier-2, Sharp-shinned Hawk-5, Cooper’s Hawk-1, Broad-winged Hawk-6, and Red-tailed Hawk 5. Today (September 4th) had light, northwest winds, with sunny conditions, but yielded a very surprising total of only 8 raptors. Osprey and Kestrels are now seen most days, but still only a few individuals at most. Broad-winged Hawks continue to remain largely absent.

Non-raptors: The clear highlight of the period was an American White Pelican on August 30th. The bird was initially riding a thermal with a Bald Eagle far in the east, before disappearing out of view. 30 minutes later, it flew right down the shore, behind the hawk count site, flying west out of view. Other highlights have been far and few between with 3 White-winged Scoters, a Least Sandpiper, a Solitary Sandpiper, 5 Great Egrets, and a few Palm Warblers the best of the rest. Canada Goose migration has commenced, with 6 birds on the 2nd and a flock of 16 today.

American White Pelican with Bald Eagle
American White Pelican with Bald Eagle
American White Pelican flying near Green Island
American White Pelican
White-winged Scoters

Monarchs: Monarchs more than made up for raptors with likely peak numbers coming through during the period. Every day but Tuesday, when it rained, tallied at least 150 Monarchs. The best day was on September 2nd, when 3,488 were tallied!!! At times there were over 100 Monarchs surrounding the count site, and many Monarchs could be seen in the distance as well at all heights. It was rather difficult to attempt to count them, but surely this tally was only a portion of those going across. It wouldn’t surprise me if 10,000 Monarchs flew across the vicinity of the straits that day. 406 Monarchs were tallied today, (September 4th) but they may be winding down very quickly. Last year, the show ended nearly as quickly as it came, with no notable Monarch counts beyond September 6th. The peaked a few days later this year though, so perhaps they’ll continue in good numbers to at least September 10th this year.

Best of the next 5 days: Northerly winds are bound to be good for raptors one of these days, which means Saturday is likely to be one of the best days of the period. Sunday looks good as well. Tomorrow, Thursday, may see a moderate number of Bald Eagles move through.

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