Monthly Archives: March 2016

Waterbird Count, March 30

Today was the warmest day I’ve had yet, in the 40s and 50s, with very calm winds. There was only about 30 mins of rain early in the day. There was nice diversity with four species of dabbling ducks and 6 distant swans, in addition to the usual suspects. Many American Robins were also on the move.

Canada Goose – 94
Unidentified swan sp. – 6
Wood Duck – 5
American Wigeon – 2
American Black Duck – 2
Mallard – 3
Redhead – 35
White-winged Scoter – 11
Long-tailed Duck – 913
Common Goldeneye – 14
Common Merganser – 28
Red-breasted Merganser – 104
Common/Red-breasted Merganser – 2
Unidentified duck sp. – 72

Turkey Vulture – 16
Golden Eagle – 1
Bald Eagle – 4
Red-tailed Hawk – 7
Merlin – 1
Sandhill Crane – 13
American Robin – 86

First LEOW of the Season!

Last night was an excellent night of owl banding.   It was partly cloudy with temperatures in the 30’s and winds of 5 to 10 mph out of the south.

We captured a total of six Northern Saw-whet Owls, two of which were already banded.  All were female and of various ages. We also banded our first Long-eared Owl of the season!  The LEOW was an after second year female.

It was nice to hear some Sandhill Cranes calling as we closed up nets this morning, along with a bunch of singing Song Sparrows.

Rain is in the forecast tonight.


2 short

Winds started out of the  SE switching to the NE back to the E. Blue skies with high cirrus. 36 Bald Eagles and 10 Golden Eagles with 2 being immatures  one adult Peregrine with 2 dark morph Rough-legged hawks.Nice flight of Turkey Vultures  with 282 thought I recognize one TV from Corpus! 998 Red-tailed hawks came by with a stunning albino-leucistic one that flew right overhead!

Waterbird Count, March 29

Compared to the hawk watch, my day was pretty slow. I did have a new arrival — a single Horned Grebe that flew in and landed in the Straits for a while. Good numbers of White-winged Scoters were moving. One highlight was a Merlin mercilessly diving at a Pine Siskin over the water, which managed to escaped.

Canada Goose – 15
Wood Duck – 2
Redhead – 2
White-winged Scoter – 107
Long-tailed Duck – 639
Common Goldeneye – 5
Common Merganser – 12
Red-breasted Merganser – 114
Unidentified duck sp. – 60
Horned Grebe – 1

Turkey Vulture – 40
Bald Eagle – 8
Merlin – 1

Owl Banding, March 28/29

It was a slow night of banding last night.  There was a fairly strong wind out of the northwest and the owls did not seem to be moving.

Luckily, we didn’t get completely skunked.  We recaptured one saw-whet that we had banded two nights earlier.  She had managed to gain six grams of weight in just two days!

We are hoping for a little more action tonight.  There will be a mild wind blowing out of the south which may bring some saw-whets our way.


Waterbird Count, March 28

An average day, duck-wise. The Long-tailed Ducks continue around St. Helena Island. A passing helicopter helped me count them by making many of them fly around briefly. Raptors kept things interesting with a Snowy Owl flying north low over the water around 8:30am and a good movement of Turkey Vultures later in the day, mostly in the last hour.

Canada Goose – 1
Mallard – 6
Redhead – 6
Greater Scaup – 3
White-winged Scoter – 22
Long-tailed Duck – 739
Common Goldeneye – 20
Common Merganser – 13
Red-breasted Merganser – 164
Common/Red-breasted Merganser – 2
Unidentified duck sp. – 140

Turkey Vulture – 32
Bald Eagle – 10
Red-tailed Hawk – 5
Snowy Owl – 1

Merlin on a pole

Started at rec center until wind switch from the south to due east while at the rec center a Merlin came in after the flock of robins in the baseball field having no success came to rest on the telephone pole along the road giving great views .Arriving at Darrows  because of the wind change had 1 Golden Eagle and 3 Bald Eagles plus a nice push of 90 Redtails ahead of the rain closed the watch at 1330 hawk time.

Waterbird Count, March 27

Pretty productive day number and variety-wise until the rain started around 1:00pm. Darrell Lawson joined me in the afternoon and brought the raptors with him, including a Northern subspecies Red-tailed Hawk. Large numbers of Long-tailed Ducks continue around St. Helena Island, but with the overcast and fog, it was difficult to get an accurate count. The best sighting today was two Greater White-fronted Geese that were flying south across the Straits, west of McGulpin Point.

Greater White-fronted Goose – 2
Canada Goose – 54
Wood Duck – 2
Mallard – 16
Redhead – 7
White-winged Scoter – 25
Long-tailed Duck – 554
Bufflehead – 9
Common Goldeneye – 12
Common Merganser – 15
Red-breasted Merganser – 258
Unidentified duck sp. – 74

Golden Eagle – 1
Bald Eagle – 3
Cooper’s Hawk – 1
Red-tailed Hawk – 17
Merlin – 1
Peregrine Falcon – 1
Sandhill Crane – 2

Owls Banding, March 26/27

We had a successful night of banding owls.  There was a mild wind out of the southeast and temperatures were in the 30’s.  The sky was clear at the beginning of the night, but became cloudy later.

We banded a total of four Northern Saw-whet Owls.  We also had one foreign recapture.  All birds were female. Three were second year birds, and two were after third year birds.  We captured at least one bird during each of our first four net runs.

Other wildlife was observed last night, including a porcupine and a flying squirrel.  At dawn, we had a Ruffed Grouse in one of our nets!

It looks like rain will prevail tonight, but Monday and Tuesday night look promising.

Happy Easter!

Waterbird Count, March 26

Southerly winds brought nothing new, but White-winged Scoter numbers were way up. Large groups of Long-tailed Ducks continue around St. Helena Island, where they rested on the water all day.

Mallard – 1
Redhead – 1
Greater Scaup – 4
Greater/Lesser Scaup – 1
White-winged Scoter – 102
Long-tailed Duck – 780
Common Goldeneye – 2
Common Merganser – 24
Red-breasted Merganser – 155
Unidentified duck sp. – 144

Turkey Vulture – 4
Bald Eagle – 10
Red-tailed Hawk – 1
Great Black-backed Gull – 1