End of April

Weather has been an issue during the past week with rain, snow, and fog delaying the count or shutting it down completely. As I write this the Keweenaw is blanketed in a wintry mix of sleet, snow, rain, and fog.

Not surprisingly the road is still closed, although I suspect it will be opening in the next few days.

The poor weather has also contributed to a slow week for raptors. Up to the 25th the season as a whole was the lowest on record by a large margin. But then the 25th happened, the skies opened and 1,157 raptors went east past the overlook! More birds were recorded on the 25th than had been recorded during the entire season up to that point!

767 Broad-winged’s led the flight (all of which flew past in the last three hours of the day), 165 Sharp-shinned Hawks, 78 Red-tailed Hawks (including one dark morph), 52 Bald Eagles, and 50 Turkey Vultures were the other top flyers of the day. Seven Osprey were a good count, while an adult Golden Eagle gave a close look. The highlight of the day were two light/intermediate morph adult Swainson’s Hawks, the first April records since 2013! Also of interest was an American White Pelican that rode a thermal with a kettle of Broad-winged’s.

Off the mountain things have been slow as well, with recent arrivals being Horned Grebe, Wilson’s Snipe, Greater Yellowlegs, Vesper Sparrow, and Eurasian Tree Sparrow. While extremely rare in the lower peninsula (one record), Eurasian Tree Sparrow’s are relatively common in the UP with 25+ records in the last ten years (8+ coming from Copper Harbor).