Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Sharpie flight starting

At Whitefish Point in spring, by far the most numerous raptor counted on migration is the Sharp-shinned Hawk. Six or more out of every ten hawks counted here is a sharpie. The sharpie flight has just begun, with decent numbers in the last three days, very little before that. Today's count for Sharp-shinned Hawk was 68, the highest so far this season. Soon, we will get (much) higher day counts than that.

The Rough-legged Hawk flight rebounded after yesterday's 'low' 8 birds. Today, 27 were seen, most of them in the afternoon.

The overall count for all species reached 151, with 12 Turkey Vultures, 6 Bald Eagles, 3 Northern Harriers, 1 Cooper's Hawk, 2 Red-shouldered Hawks, 27 Red-tailed Hawks, 3 American Kestrels, a Merlin, and a buteo that was too far to reliably identify beyond genus.

A third red-shoulder, an unusually pale individual, was recognized from days before and not added to the count. Here's a photo of that individual from yesterday:

The bird is practically unmarked on the chest and belly, quite unusual for this species. It's probably a bird in its second year - adult wing shape - and I'm guessing it was lightly marked to begin with. Now in spring its plumage is faded even further. Today was the third consecutive day for me to see this individual at Whitefish Point...

Singing everywhere on the point today were Eastern Phoebes, and Compton's Tortoiseshells were out and about, definite signs of spring!

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