By Skye Haas, Spring Field Ornithologist
Sadly, there is not too much to report this week. We are stuck in a long-term holding pattern of cold north winds, and periodic snowstorms. We did get a few new season birds, with a trio of COMMON GOLDENEYE over the hawk deck on April 3, and a few SHARP-TAILED GROUSE, and SANDHILL CRANES on March 30, with another one observed on April 2. There has a been a slight trickle of HERRING GULLS passing by but there has yet to be more than single digit day totals for this species.
The Hawk Count has certainly stagnated with this wintery weather. Only31 individuals of raptors have been seen this week, with 2 GOLDEN EAGLES, 19 BALD EAGLES, 6 NORTHERN GOSHAWKS, and 7 RED-TAILED HAWKS. The Owl Banders have reported slow results of late as well, with just a handful of NORTHERN SAW-WHET OWLS and a BARRED OWL caught.
Passerines haven’t missed out on the chance to make themselves scarce as well. What few AMERICAN ROBINS and blackbirds that came in on our last warm front back on March 26 have seemed to have reversed migrated back south, and even our finch numbers have been low, with just small flocks of COMMON REDPOLLS being the only regularly observed species. A HOARY REDPOLL was observed on March 31. WHITE-WINGED CROSSBILLS have all but vanished in the last week with just two flocks observed since March 26. RED CROSSBILLS have been seen on occasion, but seem to be more common in the pine barrens just south of the point where they are likely breeding as we have seen several pairs including singing males along Vermillion Road.
*** Please note we have changed our owl banding visitation schedule: Visitors may observe owl banding on Friday and Saturday evenings from dusk to midnight, weather permitting. Due to the snow conditions, the net lane trails are off-limits to foot traffic until snow melts to keep the trails safe for the Owl Banders skiing in the dark of night. If you have a large group (5 or more), please call (517) 580-7364 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to make arrangements.
Red Crossbill, Photo Skye Haas
Hoary Redpoll, Photo Skye Haas
Common Redpoll in flight, Photo Skye Haas