Tuesday, March 31, 2009

A poor March?

Hawk migration over Whitefish Point remained slow on this last day of March. A total of 9 birds was tallied, including this immature Northern Goshawk.

So how is the season progressing so far? Well, for a couple of species - Northern Goshawk and Golden Eagle - not so bad actually. Goshawks are somewhat irruptive migrants, western populations more so than eastern. Their numbers tend to fluctuate between years, and this year is shaping up to be a good year for them, with more than double the March total for last year, for example, and even three times the March total for 2007. With today's birds, both immatures, the March 2009 total comes to 15.

Golden Eagle - also seen today - reached 22 this March, one better than last year's March total, and double the number for March '06. March '07 was better, with 33. Best days for this species so far were March 18 and 30, both with 5 Golden Eagles.

For all other species, March 2009 was low.

Most abundant raptor this month was Bald Eagle, with 82. This is the first time in four years that the March total for this species stayed below 100 (although March 2001 was worse, with 59). Only 7 redtails for March 2009 is also decidedly low; in recent years March redtail counts have fluctuated between 41 ('08) and 368 ('07). Both species have long, protracted migration periods and their numbers will surely be augmented by counts in April and May.

For practically all other species, it is really too early in the season to say anything meaningful about the running migration count. With April about to start, daily numbers should be going up pretty quickly now!

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