March 7th marked the start of HawkWatch International’s second annual spring migration count at North America’s northernmost migration site: Gunsight Mountain, Alaska!
Cold but clear weather highlighted the first few days of counting with temperatures reaching -4 degrees Fahrenheit (-20 Celsius), not an uncommon occurrence in interior Alaska this time of year. March 9th saw the first migrant Golden Eagle pass by the site, the first of many more to come. Last season we counted 1,163 of these early northern migrants so we’re hoping for another good year! In total we counted 3,143 migrating raptors of 13 species in 2016.
Our counters this season are Frank Nicoletti, a seasoned hawk watching veteran who many know from Hawk Ridge in Duluth, Minnesota; and Frank Simeone, who helped break the single-season Golden Eagle record this past fall at our Commissary Ridge, Wyoming HawkWatch site. We’re thrilled to have both these gentlemen on board for what should be an exciting season.
We’ll continue to post updates throughout the spring, but as always, daily count totals can be viewed here. Just click on “Latest count data." You can also find more information about this site, including the 2016 Annual Report, at http://www.hawkwatch.org/migration.