Current Activity

Ice, Snow, Fog, and Rain (yes, the drive is still closed)

April plods on, banausic and bromidic. With rain, snow, ice, and fog out numbering the raptors.

Notable flights since my last update were contained to one day, the 14th. When a nice flight of 210 raptors occurred. The majority of the flight was made up by Red-tails with 73 recorded for the day including a nice looking dark-morph, Turkey Vultures came in second with 54 for the day, while Sharp-shinned Hawks and Bald Eagles vied for second place with 30 and 31 respectively. New for the season was an adult Peregrine Falcon and ( while not a raptor) a Tree Swallow which was possibly the first one in the entire Keweenaw this spring! Three Northern Goshawks and a Golden Eagle rounded out the noteworthy species for the day. The only other recent arrival on the mountain was an Osprey on the 17th.


Off the mountain a nice passerine flight was noted on the 9th. Notables included Ruby-crowned Kinglet (tying the record early arrival recordfor the Keweenaw I set back in 2015), Western and Eastern Meadowlarks, Pied-billed Grebe, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Yellow-rumped Warbler, and Eastern Phoebe. Other recent arrivals include Trumpeter Swan, American Woodcock, Savannah Sparrow, and a Field Sparrow (one of only a handful of records for the Keweenaw in the last decade).

Bohemian Waxwings have been regular in town, while Redpoll and Siskin numbers are starting to decline.

With the mountain as slow as it is, blog-worthy material has been sparse. So for those hoping for multiple posts a week, I would suggest instead going outside and looking for some migrants in person!

Yes, the road up Brockway is still closed and will likely remain closed to auto traffic through the end of the month. But with the road free of cars this is the perfect time to take a walk or bike ride along it!


April has arrived! And with it a decrease in snow and an increase in birds!

The 2nd featured the biggest flight of the spring thus far, with ninty-five raptors including 55 Bald Eagles, 25 Red-tailed Hawks, and 2 Northern Goshawks (including the adult pictured below). Other raptors recorded in the last week include Golden Eagle, Rough-legged Hawk, Northern Harrier, Red-shouldered Hawk, Merlin, and Sharp-shinned Hawk.

While not a raptor Northern Shrikes are still a predator, and one has made several appearances at the count site this week.

Other recent arrivals to the far north of Michigan include Mallard, Sandhill Crane, Ring-billed Gull, Killdeer, American Robin, Song Sparrow, and Dark-eyed Junco. Lingering species include Bohemian Waxwing, Common Redpoll, and Pine Grosbeak.

Also worth noting was this tourist Wild Turkey that walked up to the shack and looked at me before wandering around the count site and then heading east down the road.

Locally snow levels have dropped, with exposed areas being predominantly snow free. However in the valleys and sheltered areas 5-6ft drifts are holding on.

Note that the drive up Brockway is closed to auto traffic through the end of April.

Its Still Winter

Here in the north March is the season of ice and snow, and this year it seems especially true. Nearly two weeks into the spring 2017 season and winter’s icy grip is still holding the tip of the Keweenaw in its cold clutches. North winds and snow/sleet/fog has kept the flight slow, with only four species of raptor recorded thus far in the season. Of those four, Bald Eagle is the only one breaking the single digits with 51 recorded for the season. Red-tailed Hawk arrived on the 28th, while Rough-legged arrived on the 24th with a westbound bird. The first Golden Eagle went east on the 19th and two more went past today.  Overall this is well below the past couple of seasons, finger crossed spring arrives soon and brings southwinds and raptors.

Below are some pictures of ice and snow and fog, and the Red-bellied Woodpecker that has over-wintered in town.

The 2017 Count Has Begun!

The 2017 spring migrating raptor count began today and will be conducted daily, until June 15th. Thank you, Tim Baerwald for returning as lead counter for the Brockway Mountain Hawk Watch! We are all looking forward to your posts and photos!

Golden Eagle ~ Tim Baerwald



Counter For Spring 2017

This spring, Tim Baerwald will be returning as lead counter. We look forward the count and welcome him back for a 3rd year! Tim’s informative posts and great photos will be gracing this blog for another survey season.

New Website ~ Under Construction

Welcome to the new Keweenaw Bird Research Group website. Our principal project is the Brockway Mountain Hawk Watch. This is the page where we will be posting info about the count and the counter will post updates and photos.