Date: 9/15/20 7:51 pm
From: <reports...>
Subject: [birders] Detroit River Hawk Watch (15 Sep 2020) 844 Raptors
Detroit River Hawk Watch
Brownstown, Michigan, USA
Daily Raptor Counts: Sep 15, 2020

Species Day's Count Month Total Season Total
------------------ ----------- -------------- --------------
Black Vulture 0 0 0
Turkey Vulture 9 129 129
Osprey 0 9 9
Bald Eagle 0 16 16
Northern Harrier 21 62 62
Sharp-shinned Hawk 256 525 525
Cooper's Hawk 0 1 1
Northern Goshawk 0 0 0
Red-shouldered Hawk 0 0 0
Broad-winged Hawk 540 4471 4471
Swainson's Hawk 0 0 0
Red-tailed Hawk 0 62 62
Rough-legged Hawk 0 0 0
Golden Eagle 0 0 0
American Kestrel 17 172 172
Merlin 1 4 4
Peregrine Falcon 0 3 3
Unknown Accipiter 0 0 0
Unknown Buteo 0 1 1
Unknown Falcon 0 0 0
Unknown Eagle 0 0 0
Unknown Raptor 0 0 0

Total: 844 5455 5455

Observation start time: 08:00:00
Observation end time: 15:00:00
Total observation time: 7 hours

Official Counter: Kevin Georg

Observers: Andrew Sturgess, Sam Heilman

While Lake Erie Metropark is currently open to the public, for the safety
of our counter and volunteers we encourage visitors to follow along with
the count virtually on, or our Detroit River Hawk Watch
Facebook page. There will be daily updates and photographs. If you do
decide to join us in person, please help the counter and volunteers to
follow their mandated safety protocols by refraining from approaching them.
Please follow the recommended Covid 19 procedures by wearing a mask and
maintaining a safe social distance. Thanking you in advance for your
cooperation. Stay safe!

Yesterday’s weather was a very clear demonstration of the vagaries of the
wind and atmospheric conditions that affect the counts at hawk watch sites.
Our friends at Holiday Beach saw over eleven thousand broad-wings and we
only had one large kettle that numbered a few hundred. We are located a
mere eight miles apart. Today’s weather did not look too promising as
winds were predicted to grow in strength from the S during the day. The
smoke haze from California had cleared for the most part leaving us a clear
light blue sky for the best part of the day but with time there grew a
light white cover high above us by the end of the watch. The wind did
indeed grow and it seemed to impede the flight during the afternoon hours.
The barometer was predicted to fall and it did in the afternoon after the
wind had built to double digit strength. It had started at 30.35 and
dropped a couple of tenths by the end. Temperatures were comfortable fall
temps in the sixties making for a pleasant day.

Raptor Observations:
The southern winds did not bode well for the soaring birds but those that
press on regardless found the lighter winds of the morning to their liking.
Sharpies were popping over the trees like someone had left the lid off the
popcorn popper. We ended up with 256, our best day this year. We got off to
a slow start with this species so it was good to see them in these numbers.
The broad-wings were pushed far to the north and were difficult to see in a
hazy sky. We only saw them early on in the morning hours when the wind was
lighter and tallied 540. Nine turkey vultures were seen today but their
days are coming. Twenty five kestrels were counted winging their way
through. One merlin was spotted coming across the water from Celeron Island
and exhibiting unusual behavior. It seemed to dive at the water, perhaps
attacking its own reflection as feisty at they are, and then it landed on
the floating “seaweed” vegetation. It stayed for several minutes and
seemed to be taking a shallow bath as last seen. Our other record setting
bird (for the young season) was the northern harrier. They seemed to be
determined to get out of Dodge and passed over in couples, or even three
one time, totaling 21 on the day.

Non-raptor Observations:
There is little new to report on the non-raptor side of things. The Caspian
terns continue to dive bomb the minnow population. Swallows seemed to have
moved to other areas and were not a visual road block as they can sometimes
be. Even the gulls seemed to be widely spaced today. We did see some butter
butts in the alder tree close to our seats. Pied-billed grebes continued to
terrorize the fish in the neighborhood along with the insatiable cormorants
plying their trade in our end of the lake.

The wind will shift slightly to the SW tomorrow and increase in strength to
low double digits. The barometer will continue to fall as rain approaches
in the late night hours. Not a promising forecast but the birds that do not
pay attention to forecasts may continue to move. Sharpies, kestrels,
harriers might show up but the long winged birds that ride the winds will
probably not be seen by us in large numbers except possibly in the morning
hours when the wind is lighter. I hope I am wrong of course. Cheers! Andrew
Report submitted by Kevin Georg (<kevin.l.georg...>)
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