The new WPBO hawk counting season began March 15, and I was excited to get started right away. Unfortunately the weather had other ideas, greeting us with high winds and few birds those first couple days. Despite a slow start, a few good flights have come through already. I’ve had an awesome flight of Bald Eagle, nice looks at goshawk and Red-tailed Hawk, and several groups of various finch species.
Unfamiliar with Whitefish Point’s migration pattern I was happy to see that some birds can come in very close to the hawk deck, soaring just 100 ft. above my head. This certainly makes up for those birds that pass too far away to be seen without binoculars or a scope. While each day brings new challenges, the sight of birds flying overhead really helps it pay off. For example, the first day I was lucky enough to have visiting birders was also the day I had the best look at a goshawk I’ve ever gotten.
I know that spring is definitely on the way, as I saw the first Turkey Vulture and a small flock of American Goldfinch over the last few days. On March 25,I heard the first Red-winged Blackbird of the season!
Not everything exciting at the hawk deck is avian-related, however! On those slow days, it’s nice to watch red squirrel chasing each other, though sometimes they climb the hawk shack walls without warning and scare me a little. A few days ago a glance out the hawk shack window gave me a look at a fisher running across a dune nearby! I’m adding it to my list of animals I’ve seen for the first time since I’ve been here! I’m looking forward to what else the season brings and chatting with any visitors who come up to watch the hawks with me! Hope to see you there!
2019 Spring Hawk Counter