Saturday, February 5, 2011

Manitou Island, Lake Superior

For the last year+ I`ve been very interested in some of the birding possibilities of Lake Superior, ever since I noticed Caribou Island on google maps (way out in the middle of the lake, and only visible on `satellite view`


Since then, I have noticed that Michigan birders have been spending some time over the last several years exploring one of their Islands - Manitou... They have an excellent website which details what they`ve been doing...

Obviously the big thing for me is the rarities they`ve been finding. This was an email I wrote a while ago, but I figured it would also make for good blog material.

Below is a link to show where the island is (map).. The main thing I pulled form their notes isn`t the quality of rarity - but the VERY Impressive numbers of rarities they found (considering the average length of stay is only 3-4 days at a time)...


I went through the Manitou Island bird sightings, to show what they've
found over the years of doing surveys there. Here's the map:

Check it out - the total number of days they were there, and the
highlight birds:

May 4-7, 2002 (Raptor surveys) - Swainson's Hawk

June 17, 2002 - 2 singing Blackpoll Warblers, 500 hawks!

July 2002 (4 days, dates not listed) - Black Vulture 

Sept 8-10, 2002 - Red-headed Woodpecker, Yellow-billed Cuckoo

Apr 29-May 3, 2003 - A. White Pelican, Golden Eagle

Jun 28-Jul 1, 2003 - A. White Pelican

Oct 5-8, 2003 - nothing!

May 26-30, 2005 - Snowy Egret, 3 different Swainson`s Hawks!!!

Aug 20-23, 2005 - Piping Plover

Sept 20-21, 2005 - Forster`s Tern

Apr 23-May 10, 2006 - California Gull, Snowy & Great Gray Owls, Smith's Longspur, Harlequin Duck

Early June, 2006 - (Jun 11/12?) - Say's Phoebe!

Sept 2006 - (days not listed) Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, Jaegers

2009 - May 15-19 -- Pacific Loon, Wood Thrush, Marbled Godwit, Yellow-throated Warbler, Prairie Warbler

Oct 2009 - 4 days in early Oct - Carolina Wren! 

It is also noteworthy that they spend a lot of time doing waterbird counts or hawkwatching, so there is possibly more rarities in the woods to be found(?)


So yeah! Caribou Island would be the destination for Ontario birders. I have no plans to get there anytime soon, but I'm sure one day I'll get there. It is a lot more difficult to get to Caribou than Manitou! 


Pictures of some of the Manitou rarities:

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