Date: 12/6/17 9:16 am From: Michal Furmanek <mifur2...> [ILbirds] <ILbirds-noreply...> Subject: IBET Big crane migration and a Golden Eagle yesterday at Fort Sheridan
I spent 3 hours yesterday (11:15 AM -2:15 PM) hawkwatching at Fort Sheridan. With temps in the low 30s and sustained western winds of 21-24 mph, it was a cold day with few migrating raptors but many hundreds of cranes. The highlights were: 1 GOLDEN EAGLE and 1,362 SANDHILL CRANES; the eagle following a large flock of cranes to the west.
Other raptors were: 3 migrating Red-tails; (1 likely a Northern), 2 Harriers and two local red-tails. I posted pictures of some of the closest migrants on Facebook (Fort Sheridan and Illinois Birding Network).
The birds were clearly struggling with the wind. One flock of cranes was blown over the lake, and struggling to come back ashore. It was only a second time I witnessed cranes being pushed over the lake; the first time being on a Black Friday of 2012, also at Fort Sheridan, on another big cranes migration day, with similarly strong winds.
The cranes were already migrating when I arrived, and still migrating when I was leaving, so a full-day count would be no doubt higher. They must be migrating today too - I heard them this morning while leaving my house in Lake Bluff.
Michal Furmanek,Lake Bluff, Lake Co.