Peregrine Update

They are 5 weeks old today and checking out what’s outside the box!


10,000 and a Painted Bunting

The last week or so has been a foggy mess of precipitation (out of the 48 possible count hours thus far in June, I have only been able to count 23.25). But despite the limited time on the mountain we have been inching ever closer to the 10,000 bird mark for the season. By the 31st we were only 300 birds away. Depressingly that number changed little the rest of the week and hopes and expectations were low for the 3rd. After only 5 birds in the first hour things weren’t looking any better, but then lo and behold in the second and third hours over 740 Broad-wingeds went east! Boom, 10,000 for the season!

As typical for this point in the spring the majority of the flight is young Broad-winged Hawks, with a few young Red-tailed and Sharp-shinned Hawks, and the ever present motley mix of various ages of Bald Eagles thrown into the mix. A Swainson’s Hawk on the 29th was the first of the spring, and the last of the regular raptors to be recorded this season. One can always hope for a Kite to end the count on, but more than likely diversity will continue to drop off through the end of the season.


How the Broad-winged’s have looked this week in the fog



one of those Broad-winged’s is the 10,000th raptor of the spring!

Despite the calendar saying that we’re nearly through the first week of June there are still a few birds moving through Michigan’s far north. Most notable is an immature female Painted Bunting that was first seen briefly on the 4th and which eventually found Cherri’s feeders and was still present the 6th. This represents the fourth record for Keweenaw County and the first since 2013. This is also only the second summer record for Michigan, with the first also coming from the Keweenaw (Eagle River to be exact). Northern Mockingbirds continue in the county with at least one in still present in Copper Harbor and others reported in Bete Grise and Gay. A Lark Sparrow on the 6th, House Finch on the 3rd, and a Eurasian Tree Sparrow the 31st-2nd round out the notable sightings for this post.



the local Raven fledglings just after they left the nest



looking south towards the grey beast


The Blackflies are Out

Another week has sped past like Whimbrel migrating in the night and with it a plethora of new arrivals, the arrival of blackflies, and even some hawks!

After another week of a somewhat stagnant hawk flight with 100-300 birds a day, things broke open the 22nd (my day off) with 1,328 hawks including 1,067 Broad-wings and 157 Red-tails. The switch over from adult to juvenile Broad-winged Hawks happened the 23rd with 235 juvenile and 158 adults. We also had the first juvenile Bald Eagles of the spring appear in the last week. All told we are now only 73 birds away from beating last season’s total and a few hundred away from 10,000!


Now on to passerines where things have really advanced since the last post.
Warblers arrived in force the 18th with at least 15 species recorded in town and since then over 20 species have been recorded in town along with Least and Alder Flycatchers, Eastern Kingbird, Red-eyed Vireo, Veery, Bobolink, and many other migrants.

Highlights from the past week include:

American Bittern (May 21st, rare in town)
Rock Pigeon (May 24th, very rare in Keweenaw County)
Long-eared Owl (May 16th, getting mobbed by crows)
Sedge Wren (May 20th)
Loggerhead Shrike (May 18th and 19th, 5th county record)
Eastern Bluebird (12 on May 22nd-23rd is an unusually high count)
Bohemian Waxwing (May 19th-20th, record late for the Keweenaw)
Northern Mockingbird (1 May 19-21st, 1 on May 24th)
LeConte’s Sparrow (2 on May 16th, 1 on May 20th)
Lark Bunting (1 molting male on May 16th, 1 female reported on May 21st. 5th and 6th county records)
House Finch (1 reported May 22, rare in the Keweenaw)
Brewers Blackbird (1 singing male, May 21-24th
Yellow-headed Blackbird (1 female, May 23rd)
Eurasian Tree Sparrow (1 on May 18th, 5th county record)


Mid May

Oops, I’ve been lax in my updating this blog.

In the time since my last post migration has had some peaks and valleys, with the best day of the season occurring on May 6 with 1,297 Broad-winged Hawks and a day total of over 1,800 raptors! Meanwhile the 14th had a total of 2 Turkey Vultures and featured flurries blowing in off Superior.


It looks like the next break in the weather and chances for a good flight will happen midway though this upcoming week. We’re only a couple good days away from breaking 10,000 raptors!

Passerines have been slow with just the faintest trickle of warblers appearing in the area. To date I’ve only had Pine, Palm, Yellow-rumped, Nashville, Orange-crowned, Black-throated Green, and Black & White Warbler. After missing a Eurasian Tree Sparrow and almost missing a female Yellow-headed Blackbird in town,  I managed to find a Northern Mockingbird today while walking over to get breakfast at the Tamarack Inn. Despite the near record late Bohemian Waxwings continuing on Brockway, I think spring is finally arriving!