Island Count- Feast/ Famine

We all know that migration, or lack there of, is very weather dependent. A few days ago, I had a good day with kettles of Broad-winged Hawks and over 30 Bald Eagles. That would qualify as a feast! Yesterday, the 3rd, was a famine day, with rain for the majority of the day, and only one raptor to be seen in the short time I spent at the count site. While sometimes you may see an eagle or an osprey making it’s way through light rain, being soaked while doing it is rather unpleasant. At other count sites I’ve been to, it’s possible to drive up and sit at least closer to the watch point, just in case the rain lets up a little. Here on Mackinac, however, that isn’t an option. With a 25 minutes bike ride or walk, unless you are up for getting soaked, you have to wait until the rain has almost stopped before trying to get as quickly as you can up to the top!

On a good day, though, that ride is worth it! With the incredible view, and the sight of raptors migrating right at eye level, it’s exciting to have a day with some sun, a calm or light breeze, and plenty of thermals. At this point in the season, it seems as though West winds make the best days as long as it’s not too strong. Good amounts of sunshine in the morning create early thermals that stick around if clouds don’t roll in. Let’s hope for more days like that in the near future!

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