November Gifts - 10 Nov 2023

With half the team out on travel I made the trip to the Detroit Rive Hawk Watch to help Jessie (Fletcher) and Sam (Heilman) cover the hawk watch. Frank Kitakis and Rosemarie Brady were already there to help, and Paul and Natalie Cypher also showed up. Natalie would prove to be the day's MVC (most valuable counter) helping with the most difficult IDs.

The first hour proved to be slow with no raptors flying before 10 am. We were visited by several Bonaparte's Gulls until Paul pointed out the continuing Little Gull flying out in front of us.

Red-shouldered Hawks began flying shortly after 10 am and we soon busy pointing out birds flying north and south of the count site. Interestingly, most of the birds north of us were Red-shouldered Hawks while most of the birds south of us were Red-tailed Hawks. 

A Cooper's Hawk (possible local) crossed the channel in front of us and gave great looks in the morning light as it circled overhead.

A Northern Harrier drifted overhead. Followed by several Bald Eagles that made for nice comparison when our first Golden Eagle of the day appeared. 

We'd soon be visited by a Peregrine Falcon that flew overhead, circled behind the trees, then went into a stoop and shot back across the channel to Canada (not to be seen again).

I would have to leave at noon. I got home just in time to see a Discord post that several more Golden Eagles and a Rough-legged Hawk passed over the count shortly after I left... We'd finish the day with 9 Golden Eagles!

Observation start time:09:00:00
Observation end time:16:00:00
Total observation time:7 hours
Official CounterNatalie Cypher, Paul Cypher, Sam Heilman
Observers:Frank Kitakis, Jerry Jourdan, Jessica Fletcher, Natalie Cypher, Paul Cypher, Rosemary Brady, Sam Heilman

We welcome visitors to our site and are very willing to share migration information, photography and ID tips with them. We have cards and pamphlets, so come and talk to us. However, during times of high traffic, requiring extra focus and concentration, we would respectfully ask that everyone use their indoor voices and allow us to fulfill our mission to the best of our abilities. Thank you.

A northwest wind in the morning shifted to west in the afternoon. Clouds were variable, however, the sky stayed mostly clear for most of the day. The pressures stayed fairly constant at around 30.1 in. The wind wasn’t nearly as gusty as it was over the past couple days.

Raptor Observations:
The morning hours saw the largest rush of the day, peaking at 52 birds in the third hour with 3 golden eagles. A large variety of raptors made their appearance. Red-tailed hawks were the most abundant, with only a few small kettles of turkey vultures throughout the day. Golden eagles (9 total) made their appearance, one putting on a particularly spectacular show soaring close overhead with a juvenile bald eagle accompanying it. A single rough-legged hawk came through, always an exciting sight! Other migratory birds included harriers, Cooper’s hawks, Sharp-shins, Bald Eagles and a single Merlin.

Non-raptor Observations:
The little gull made a very short appearance in the morning, however, didn’t seem interested in sticking around for repeat fly-bys. Crows (771 of them!) were in the air today as well, doing their best to fool us. Tundra swans (22) made a fly-by, and as always we scoured the flock for snow geese, but there were none. Many gulls were also in the air today, forming kettles and doing their best hawk impressions.

There will be no official count tomorrow due to Veteran’s Day. However, I’ll take a stab at predicting what the day will be like for those people coming to observe unofficially. The winds will be out of the north, which usually brings a good amount of raptors. However, they will be quite weak at only 4 mph. So, I think it could go either way.

Report submitted by Jessie Fletcher (
Detroit River Hawk Watch information may be found at:
More information at [Site Profile] [Day Summary] [Month Summary]
Count data submitted via Dunkadoo - [Project Details]

Lake Erie Metropark, Wayne, Michigan, US
Nov 10, 2023 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Protocol: Stationary
Checklist Comments:     Detroit River Hawk Watch
10 species

Little Gull (Hydrocoloeus minutus)  1     Continuing. Smaller than nearby Bonaparte's Gulls. Black inner wing linings indicative of adult. Darkish cap to go w/ ear patch.
Bonaparte's Gull (Chroicocephalus philadelphia)  5
Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura)  11
Golden Eagle (Aquila chrysaetos)  2     9 would be reported at hawk watch this day. I was there for the first 2. Photos
Sharp-shinned Hawk (Accipiter striatus)  6
Cooper's Hawk (Accipiter cooperii)  3
Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus)  4
Red-shouldered Hawk (Buteo lineatus)  10
Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis)  23
Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus)  1

View this checklist online at

This report was generated automatically by eBird v3 (