Saturday, March 30, 2013

Spring Sprung

By Cory Ritter

Whitefish has nearly gone full circle since I last posted. Dominated by wind and snow, Whitefish resembled the Hoth system more than a raptor migration hotspot. In fact, I was counting an average of fewer than ten raptors per day, and the songbirds were nearly non-existent.
Pine Grosbeak, Whitefish Point, 3/18/2013, one of the relatively few seen before a group of 57 were spotted on the 27th

Warming up a bit...

Ahh... Maximum insulation
Common Redpoll, Whitefish Point, 3/25/2013, increasing in numbers over the past 10 days

Common Redpoll, Whitefish Point, 3/25/2013
However, that all changed on Thursday and Friday. The sun was out, snow was melting, and birds were flying. It was glorious. While the season total for raptors after Wednesday sat at a modest 111, the 45 on Thursday and 50 for Friday quickly brought that up to a respectable 206. So, nearly doubling the count in two days provided some welcomed excitement. And as if that wasn't enough, Pine Siskins, Red Crossbills, Snow Buntings, American Robins, and Sandhill Cranes jumped into the mix over the past couple days.

During this push of raptors, Bald Eagle was clearly the dominant species, accounting for 68 of the 95 raptors counted Thursday and Friday. Nevertheless, there were many other highlights including a kettle of goshawks and the arrival of two new species--Red-shouldered Hawk and Turkey Vulture.

One of the many adult Bald Eagles passing by Whitefish this season, 3/26/2013

Bald Eagle staring contest...and...GO

Northern Goshawk, Whitefish Point, 3/28/2013

Northern Goshawk, Whitefish Point, 3/28/2013

Adult Red-tailed Hawk, Whitefish Point, 3/29/2013

Though first-spring may have been short-lived here at Whitefish, as a front is moving through this weekend. It will be bringing rain and snow, and leaving behind colder, sub-freezing temperatures. Hopefully the birds will not retreat in the face of this 'indian-winter', and hopefully spring will soon return once again.

1 comment:

  1. Holy cow! Another goshawk right over top of the hawkwatch and with perfect blue skies - I need to get up to Whitefish Pt as soon as possible.