RAPTORS OF BROCKWAY MOUNTAIN
The Keweenaw Raptor Survey is the first formal survey of raptor migration at Brockway Mountain in over a decade. The following is a summary of the most recent evaluations of raptor migration in the Keweenaw.
The first year of the Keweenaw Raptor Survey was conducted from 15 March – 15 June 2010. The majority of the survey was conducted at the West Bluff Overlook, located at 47o 27’ 50.38” N, 87o 58’ 09.82” W, elevation 1313 ft a.s.l. However, the first two days were conducted from a lookout east of West Bluff Overlook because road conditions prevented access to the Overlook. Survey times were from 0800 – 1400 EST from 15 March – 31 March and from 0800 – 1600 from 1 April – 15 June, weather and flight conditions pending. A total of 579.1 hours of count were conducted this year, the majority (460.1 hours) conducted by Max Henschell, the official KRS Raptor Counter for 2010. Other official counters included Skye Haas (38 hours), Joseph Youngman (37 hours), and Zach Gayk (36 hours).
2010 SPRING RESULTS
Other notable highlights include over 17,000 Canada Geese were recorded flying over the Keweenaw Peninsula during the KRS, with approximately 12,000 flying through on 12 April! Other waterbirds recorded during the KRS include a surprising flock of 43 White-winged Scoters on 21 May, 331 Common Loons, 2 Red-throated Loons, 47 American White Pelicans, Common Merganser, Double-crested Cormorant, 1 Great Blue Heron, 3 Killdeer, 1 Upland Sandpiper. 156 Sandhill Cranes were also recorded during the count.
Three species of owls were recorded during the count period. These include a Barred Owl heard calling in the valley from mid-April through June, a Northern Saw-whet Owl heard on two consecutive days calling from the valley, 17 and 18 March and a fly-through Snowy Owl on 2 May being harassed by the local Common Raven pair.
Seventy-seven species of passerines (order Passeriformes) or near-passerines (orders Apodiformes – swifts and hummingbirds; Piciformes – woodpeckers) were recorded during the KRS. Notable species included Northern Shrike, nesting Common Ravens, Wood Thrush, Bohemian Waxwing, Eastern Towhee, Brewer’s Blackbird, and Common Redpoll.
1992 MICHIGAN AUDUBON SOCIETY COUNT RESULTS
The only other seasonal raptor count at Brockway was conducted through the efforts of the Michigan Audubon Society in spring of 1992. Here is a summary of those efforts.
Annotated Checklist of the Raptor Species seen at Brockway Mountain
The following data has been summarized from Birds of the Keweenaw by Dr. Laurence Binford. The date ranges provided are from data collected before the creation of KRS.
Accidental visitors to the Keweenaw, Black Vultures have been seen in Agate Harbor, Copper Harbor and on Manitou Island. There is one undocumented record for the West Bluff of Brockway from 1991.
A common migrant at Brockway, this species peak occurrence is from 19 April- 22 May
Common migrant at Brockway Mt. primarily occurring between 24 April-21 May
Regular migrant at Brockway. Published dates for this species are likely not representative of actual occurrence as most adult Bald Eagles move through in March when very little counting has been done. Peak flights occur during the last week of March and first week of April.
Common migrant at Brockway. Primary period of occurrence is 7 April-17 May.
One of the most abundant raptor species at Brockway Mt. Peak flight is from 25 April- 21 May
An uncommon migrant at Brockway, UP population seems to be increasing. Peak flight occurs from 18 April-18 May.
Uncommon, but regular in season at Brockway Mt. Primary period of occurrence is from 6 April-13 May, but the species is likely under-recorded from limited March data.
Nearing the northern limits of this species breeding range in the Keweenaw, this species is very uncommon at Brockway. Recorded peak occurrence from 3 April-18 May, though many adult Red-shouldered Hawks migrate in late March.
Very abundant during May, one of the most common species seen at Brockway. Peak occurrence from 2 May-29 May, though first migrants are noted by mid-April. Flocks of juveniles move well into June and even July. Two dark morphs adults have been seen at Brockway.
Brockway Mountain is one of the best places in Michigan to see this rare visitor from the western plains. Has occurred between 1 May-29 May with a median date of 10 May. This species is recorded at Whitefish Point in late April and should probably also be present at Brockway during this period.
Another very abundant species at Brockway Mt. The primary period of occurrence is from 18 April-21 May. Adults peak in late April with juveniles peaking in the second week of May with birds continuing into June. Dark morph birds are regular, and nine different individuals were observed on 3 May 1999.
- Red-tailed Hawk- by Kirk Zulfelt
- There is one accepted record of a “HARLAN’S HAWK”, a distinct race, and likely a biological separate species. Seen on 24 April 2003, photographs can be seen here: http://michiganaudubon.org/research/records_committee/photo_gallery.html?photo_gallery_item=42634&db_item=listitem
Common to abundant at Brockway Mt., and is certainly one of the better locations in the Midwest to observe high numbers of this species. Two color morphs (light & dark) are regularly both seen. Peak occurrence is from 19 April- 15 May. However recent hawk counts conducted on near-by Manitou Island have shown this species still straggles through into June.
Brockway is an excellent location to get first-rate looks at this handsome raptor. An uncommon, but regular migrant, Golden Eagles have been observed as early as 3 March and as late as 28 May. March and April are the best times to see this bird.
A common migrant at Brockway, the peak period of occurrence is from 20 April-17 May.
A regular migrant at Brockway, this plucky raptor finds the Keweenaw to be favorable for breeding and several pairs nest in the Copper Harbor area. Peak period of occurrence is from 18 April-19 May, but families can be found all summer along the coast.
An uncommon but regular migrant past Brockway. Peak period of occurrence is from 29 April-20 May.
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