Thursday, October 3, 2013

Migration in Duluth, MN

    One of the great birding spots in Minnesota is Duluth. Located on the far western end of Lake Superior, it's location and topography make it a real hotspot year round. A report from the Hawk Ridge area showed a large movement of birds as a recent cold front moved through. An update posted from Duluth by Karl Bardon on the Minnesota listserve gives a flavor of what is being seen:

"Massive numbers of birds continue to move down the North Shore, as counted by Cory Ritter and myself for Hawk Ridge Bird Observatory. Normally we are lucky enough to have one or two days of “mass migration” when thousands and thousands of birds invade our counting space, but this year we have already had six such events, including today. Today’s flight may have been the largest yet, since although “only” 15,974 birds were counted, this flight appeared to occur over a very large front, with thousands of birds moving inland from shore as the sun rose, and thousands more moving well inland from Hawk Ridge. In the last four days, we have counted 47,564 migrating non-raptors! (which brings the season total to 185,771 non-raptors). Although these flights continue to be dominated by warblers (19,539 in the last four days), today’s highlight was a super flight of American Goldfinches, with 3,585 counted, nearly all of which were counted from the apartment at the mouth of the Lester River (season total now 7994 goldfinches). The previous high counts for this species in Minnesota were 1323 on 13 September 2012 and 877 on 18 September 2010, both at the same Lester River location. It will be interesting to see how many more goldfinches continue during this season’s flight. Raptor flights have also been very strong the last two days, with many early season species such as Ospreys, Sharp-shinned Hawks, and American Kestrels moving by in peak numbers despite the October date. Daily updates of these raptor and non-raptor counts can be seen from the link on the Hawk Ridge website at" Karl Bardon Duluth, MN

    The thing that excites me the most is knowing that at least some of those birds should be headed my way sometime soon. I hope the weather gives me a chance to put "jewelry" on a few as they pass by.

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