The last week of March and the first week of April were pretty slow for migrating raptors. A few birds each day, but nothing truly spectacular in terms of numbers. However, April 5 and 6 brought a few different birds to the Hawk Deck. With the majority of raptors seen so far being eagles or Red-tailed Hawk, I caught my first sight of several species for the season.
Despite the fifth being a half day due to weather, a Rough-legged Hawk made an appearance a couple of hours in. Though distant, I got a nice look at the contrast of its belly and breast and the dark patches in its wings. Shortly after that, a large accipiter shot out of the trees and landed in a tree nearby. Larger than a Sharp-shinned Hawk, though not by much, it was the first Cooper’s Hawk of the season! Though less common at the Point than Sharp-shinned Hawk, they still fly by once in a while. Almost as soon as the Cooper’s disappeared, an American Kestrel landed briefly in a treetop on the other side of the deck. As quick as it arrived, it was gone, though I did catch a glimpse of what appeared to be small white dots on the trailing edge of the wing. This flurry of activity definitely made up for a lousy morning!
The first raptor of the sixth came from behind, flew low over treetops, and headed off West. There is no mistaking the white rump patch of a Northern Harrier! That individual was also the first of its species this season at Whitefish Point. The day rounded itself out with a few Bald Eagle, a couple of Red-tailed Hawk, and some Turkey Vulture. Overall, the season is just getting started, and beginning to get a little more diversity in raptor migration.
2019 Spring Hawk Counter