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Subject:Hawk Ridge update
From:Cameron Rutt <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Cameron Rutt <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Fri, 10 Sep 2010 23:06:54 -0500

After last season's amazing August, in which a record 2463 raptors
were recorded, this August proved more typical, with a slightly subpar
total of 741 birds (a grand is about the norm).  But with September
came a marked increase in figures and the first ten days have produced
~3600 raptors, including a flight of 800 birds on the 8th.  The
overwhelming highlight was certainly the lone Mississippi Kite that
glided high overhead on the 1st, as Karl Bardon had previously posted.
 Our first real kettles of Broad-winged Hawks (BWHA) appeared on the
8th, but in small doses, with only 20-25 birds max.  Thus, without
much contribution from BWHAs, the flight has been dominated by a
consistent flight of Sharp-shinned Hawks (2000+), although we
anticipate a sizable push of BWHAs any day now, weather-dependent.
Otherwise, highlights include back-to-back days with respectable
numbers of Bald Eagles on the 5th and 6th (72 and 61, respectively)
and a welcome resurgence of Northern Harriers, with daily numbers as
high as 38 (9/4) and 20 (9/8), including good numbers of juveniles.
Last fall, juveniles were exceedingly sparse.

Karl and I have given a concerted effort to enumerate the non-raptor
flight at Hawk Ridge this fall, counting simultaneously at the ridge
and from a site along the shore (Lakeside) since mid-August.  The
major migration corridor in Duluth is well-known, but perhaps not
widely known, and I've thoroughly enjoyed helping Karl to quantify
this diurnal migration in the past few weeks.  Our first major Canada
Goose movement was on the 3rd (1021), followed by 30 Snow Geese on
their heels (9/4), and a single Cackling Goose found hitchhiking with
its bigger brothers on the 7th.  American White Pelicans have provided
nearly daily flybys throughout September, with 141 tallied so far this
month.  Meanwhile, Sandhill Cranes have also become increasingly
regular, although in very small numbers.

A September tally of 99 Northern Flickers has been steady, but
trickling.  The flight of Eastern Kingbirds is all but over (season
total = 351), with birds few and far between these days, although
August passages of 155 (8/24) and 64 (8/28) were noteworthy.  Blue
Jays went from nearly nonexistent to full-throttle migration in very
late August and early September, with a daily September average of
more than 2200 birds!  Two days were exceptional - 4905 (9/6) and 4652
(9/9) - for a composite sum of just over 25,000 (and counting!).  More
than 30,000 Cedar Waxwings have been noted (!), with 25,000 of these
ripping through in only six days (8/28 - 9/2).  Since then, no
significant flights have been detected.  We've witnessed only three
major warbler flights (8/24, 8/30, and 9/1), with none since the first
(!), totaling in excess of 6500 so far.  149 Rose-breasted Grosbeaks
were a welcome addition, and seem much tied to the shoreline, with the
bulk of that figure (51, 45) coming in just two days (8/24 and 9/1).
Red-winged Blackbird numbers peaked in late August (season total =
4400), with almost none in the past week and change, just at the time
when Common Grackles have picked up noticeably (1800, mostly in
September).  Aside from those, American Goldfinches having been
persistently moving along the shore in moderate numbers since late
August, with 1400 flybys to-date.  All things considered, over 85,000
non-raptors have been counted so far.

Passerine migration seems to be on the earlier side this fall, at
least compared to last year.  Interestingly, looking back at Karl's
data from 2009, peak passage for Blue Jays (8 days), waxwings (9
days), and warblers (11 days) have all occurred more than a week

Daily count totals of raptor and non-raptors can be viewed at,

and further information about visiting Hawk Ridge can be found at

Karl Bardon and Cameron Rutt
Hawk Ridge counters

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