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On Nov. 3 Ed Pike did a waterbird count 7:20 am till 9:50 am, from McGalpin Point. The Straits were foggy and I could not see the bridge. I believe there was about a mile of visibility. In the second hour the fog started to lift and I could see almost half of the bridge. Then the fog moved back in and the bridge disappeared again. Only a few waterbirds seen with such low visibility. The other problem was that every time I went to use my spotting scope the lenses would be fogged up and needed to be wiped off to see.
C. Loon 3 C. Merganser 2 Mute Swan 4 Red-necked Grebe 5 White-winged Scoter 5 Canada Goose 4 Long-tailed Duck 33 C. Goldeneye 5 Duck sp. 76
Two C. Crows were seen flying south across the Straits. Very few gulls were seen; only a few Ring-billed Gulls. The D. C. Cormorants seem to have all moved south. Hoping for better conditions nest time.
Four Northern Saw-whet Owls were captured and banded last night. The first owl came in at around 2100 hours and the last owl of the night was captured around 0300 hours just before the dense fog rolled in. One of the females from last night-a second year bird- weighed in at an astonishing 120 grams. I’m not sure if I’ve ever had one that heavy before. I actually had to weigh her twice because I couldn’t believe my eyes. Just a fun little tidbit for you.
By dawn, the fog had moved off of the point and settled over the Straits, which probably made things interesting for Ed during his waterbird count this morning. The freighters were busy blowing their fog horns all day, which will likely continue throughout the night as conditions haven’t improved. In fact, the point is socked in again and I can’t even see the bridge from the passive net. Having said that, I’m not expecting much action from the owls tonight. Plus, we currently have a lovely 12 mph east wind, which should switch to the southeast at some point. I’ll consider it a good night if I can just get one by dawn.
Last night’s west winds brought a few birds to the point. A few saw-whets were captured between dusk and 2100 hours and our first Barred Owl of the season came in at 2200 hours. I wasn’t able to capture an image of the bird, but I do have several bite marks on my hands for proof. It was a feisty one-and smelly, too. After banding and releasing the barred, I checked the far locations and found a Long-eared Owl in the passive net. That makes our second long-eared for the season with hopefully more to come in the next nine nights left on the point.
We still haven’t captured any long-eareds in the LEOW audio lure location, which has us wondering if we need to change things up next season. There has been a recent increase in banding stations using a LEOW audio lure to bring in long-eareds and some banders are reporting having success. We’ll see how the rest of the season goes and make changes where we think are necessary.
After 0100 hours, the winds switched to the southwest, which slowed the movement to a screeching halt. In total, six Northern Saw-whets were captured last night along with the barred and long-eared owls. Season totals at this time are listed below.
Northern Saw-whet Owl: 232
Barred Owl: 1
Long-eared Owl: 2
Tonight’s wind is predicted to be out of the west at 5 mph, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed that a few more birds move thru. As always, stay tuned.
Long-tailed Duck. 158
Unidentified duck. 107
Common Loon 34
Red-throated Loon 1
WW Scoter 3
R-b Merganser 1
Bald Eagles 6
Snow Bunting 1
Blustery west winds with driving rain showers slowed migration until the 3rd hour when the sun poked through and the birds perked up. Common Loons totaled 23 the 3rd hour , all east bound. Photo shows flock of crows and Bald Eagle following the bridge south.
While the count was generally pretty slow on Saturday, October 31st, there were plenty of Long-tailed Ducks moving. Almost 500 (497) were counted heading west, compared to a meager 72 going east. Other than Long-tails, a few Bufflehead, Common Mergansers, and White-winged Scoters were seen. Twenty-five American Crows was a relatively light number compared to recent counts. They were joined by three Common Ravens. Two Bonaparte’s Gulls flying east were a highlight. Here is the total breakdown of the count.
On 30 October, Ed Pike filled in for Selena Creed and ran the banding station until 0100 hours. Winds started out at 8-12 mph from the southwest and eventually began blowing from the south. The movement was rather slow, but two Northern Saw-whet Owls were captured-a real treat for our patient visitors. One of the birds was a new capture for us and the second bird was a foreign retrap originally banded at Yellowwood State Forest, Indiana in November of 2012. They banded this bird as a second year female, which makes her at least 5 years old.
Last night, the wind and rain kept the banding station closed. Tonight, however, looks like a good night despite the gusting west winds. They’re predicted to die down as the night progresses and will, hopefully, bring a few birds with them.
On Oct. 29, 2015 Ed Pike and Steve Baker counted waterbirds. Waterbird movement was very slow with light southwesterly winds, cloudy skies and drizzle. Waterbirds seen were:
Mallard 4 C. Goldeneye 7 C. Merganser 27 C. Loon 6 Horned Grebe 5 Long-tailed Duck 38 White-winged Scoter 2 Red-breasted Merganser 1 Duck sp. 3 also seen flying south across the Straits were: C. Crow 69 One adult Bald Eagle was seen flying north across the straits (maybe confused). After conducting the count we traveled north across the bridge and saw the Redheads by the north end on the east side; many were near the bridge with a string of them extending to the east for a half mile or more. We estimated 3,500 in the flock.