Slow but steady – Spring in the Keweenaw
Sorry its been awhile since my last posting but in that time, spring has been soldiering onward. The weather has continued to be a bit inconsistant so the hawk watch has had its good and not so good days. May 7th saw the largest movement with 2594 birds recorded that included almost 2 thousand Broad-wings. Another thousand bird day was tallied on the 14th. It is worth noting that both these migration days were on south winds. For anyone planning a trip to the mountain, this is a very key point to keep in mind. Most days though, a typical flight has been in the hundreds and on north or west winds. Overall, totals for most species are close to or well above numbers seen in the last three years of the survey. Most notably perhaps are the totals for Ospreys, Rough-legged Hawks, Golden Eagles and American Kestrels which are all posting numbers well above those seen in that three-year time frame. We are still seeing Golden Eagles too, so if you thought your chance of spotting one this year was past, this is not necessarily the case. Broad-wing numbers are still at the low end, but there is still time for them to migrate, especially when the juvenile birds arrive in the area. Northern Harrier is probably the one species that seems to be lagging a bit in overall numbers, which is a reflection of the poor weather in April, a typical window time-wise for this species to migrate.
There are lots of other birds around which I’m sure most of you have noted. An Eared Grebe is still being seen in the Harbor off Sixth Street in Copper Harbor. This species is annual in the state but in very small numbers as it breeds further west in the prairie potholes. A female or immature male Harlequin Duck was seen at this location for a few days recently as well. Supplementing the ubiquitous Yellow-rumped Warbler numbers have been other warblers like Palm, Black & white, Black-throated Green, Northern Parula, Nashville, Orange-crowned and Ovenbird. Tree Swallows are around now as well as a few Barn and Cliff Swallows. Chimney Swifts have arrived just in the last couple of days and when I stepped outside just this morning, I heard my first Rose-breasted Grosbeak of the spring greeting me with its song.