Current Activity

Leaf Out

Spring has been advancing across the Keweenaw and at long last the forests are starting to glow green.

Migration has been spotty with daily totals between 4 (5/23) and 360 (5/26), the 27th however offered a refreshing change with over 1,000 birds for the day (for just the third time this season).

With that thousand birds the season’s total is now over 9,200, which means it avoids setting a new record low season total for the count and with almost three weeks left in the season there’s still a chance to climb up the rankings.

Broad-winged Hawks continue to dominant the daily totals with juvenile numbers starting to build. The adults moving through now are showing the wear of migration with many having missing wing or tail feathers.

Warbler migration has been picking up with 20+ species recorded locally in the last week or so. Other migrants recently include Upland Sandpiper, Red-headed Woodpecker, Northern Mockingbird, and Western Meadowlark.

Entertainment this week was provided by the local Common Raven pair fledging two young. So far they’re still figuring out the whole “flying thing” and spend the majority of the day awkwardly perched, begging food from the parents.

Benefit Cocktail Party

Where: Harbor Haus Restaurant ~ Copper Harbor

When: Wednesday, May 31st from 6 pm to 8 pm

~Benefit to support the Brockway Mountain Hawk Watch!

Set off the season with a Cocktail Party at the Harbor Haus Restaurant! Sample delicious appetizers and enjoy Harbor Haus hospitality. Learn about Copper Harbor Birding and the BMHW.
There will be a Silent Auction and a 50/50 Raffle. Come for the fun and help protect your environment too!
Cost is $20 at the door with a cash bar,

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Mid May

Saturday is Birdfest! Checkout; http://www.copperharborbirding.org/bird-fest/ to see the full slate of activities (pro tip, there’s an all you can eat pancake breakfast for $8.50!)

The north winds finally broke last week giving the first two day stretch of south winds in seemingly forever, along with the south winds came the biggest flight of the season on the 10th!

All told 1,870 raptors flew east past Brockway that day, with a peak hour of 642! Highlights included 1364 Broad-winged, 236 Sharp-shinned, 134 Red-tailed, 59 Turkey Vultures, 34 Bald Eagles, 11 Rough-legged Hawks (likely the last push of the spring), 1 Northern Goshawk, and 1 Swainson’s Hawk (adult intermediate type).

Since then things have slowed with the last six days only having totals in the double to low triple digit totals.

    

Off the mountain migration has been slowly picking up with warblers along with other expected spring migrants finally starting to increase. Notables since the last post include Cape May Warbler, Le Conte’s Sparrow, Lark Sparrow, Clay-colored Sparrow, Brewer’s Blackbird, Evening Grosbeak, Western & Eastern Meadowlark, and a House Sparrow (so far the best bird of the spring, and one of only a handful of records for Keweenaw Co. in the last decade)!

May at Last (is it spring yet?)

The weather of late has been less than ideal. North winds have dominated eight out of the last nine days along with snow, sleet, rain, and fog. Below are some photos from the last batch of rain/snow to hit the mountain.

May 3rd featured the only south winds and flight of the period with 822 raptors for the day, including 535 Broad-winged Hawks, 100 Red-tailed Hawks, 82 Sharp-shinned Hawks, 2 Northern Goshawks, and 4 Golden Eagles. No other day during this period broke 100 birds. Usually the first south wind in May brings some of the largest flights of the season but the persistent northerly winds have kept things quiet this season.

Other birds around in the last week or so include Am. White Pelican, Trumpeter Swan, Greater Yellowlegs, Palm Warbler, Lincoln’s, Chipping, and Le Conte’s Sparrow.

Pancake Breakfast to Benefit BMHW

Not Your Mother’s Pancake Breakfast ~ Hosted by Copper Harbor Birding
When: Saturday, May 20th from 8:30 am to  11:00 am
Where: The Mariner North in Copper Harbor

AUCE Pancake Buffet ~ Enjoy fluffy pancakes with a delightful array of toppings including fresh fruit and berries, fruit sauces and syrups, various toppings and Peg’s famous Frangelico Cream! Served with bacon and sausages as well as coffee or milk.

Cost is $8.50 per person. Proceeds benefit the Brockway Mountain Hawk Watch!
Eat pancakes and help protect the environment ~ How can you go wrong?

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Brockway Mountain Drive Is Open

The gate is down and the road is open, but it is currently dangerously icy. It’s sunny now and everything is melting so it should be better soon. If you’re considering going up remember, the drive has some very steep hills, please use caution and choose wisely.

We will keep you updated as to changes in condition.

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).