Monthly Archives: August 2016

Waterbird Count, August 30

Had another Jaeger today and managed some photos. Upon review, structure and plumage seem to point to an immature Parasitic Jaeger, which is the most probable species of Jaeger at this time of the year. Another highlight was a single flock of 40 Bonaparte’s Gulls — the largest flock I’ve had on the count thus far. Aside from that, it was a fairly slow day.

Mallard – 5
Blue-winged Teal – 2
teal sp. – 4
Common Loon – 1
Red-necked Grebe – 14
Double-crested Cormorant – 41
Great Blue Heron – 2
Great Egret – 4
Bonaparte’s Gull – 40
Parasitic Jaeger – 1

Bald Eagle – 1

Monarch – 2

Parasitic Jaeger 8/30/16

Parasitic Jaeger 8/30/16

 

Waterbird Count, August 29

Quite a slow day, but I had the season’s first Bonaparte’s Gulls fly by. I forgot to mention in the last post that I am also keeping track of migrant Monarch butterflies (and any other butterflies, though I’ve only had a couple sulphur sp.). I have had some nearly, if not every, day of the count so far. Although waterbirds were slow, I did have my best Monarch movement thus far, with 12 butterflies flying south over the Straits.

Mallard – 1
Redhead – 1
Common Loon – 5
Red-necked Grebe – 15
Double-crested Cormorant – 104
Great Blue Heron – 2
Great Egret – 1
Bonaparte’s Gull – 3

Turkey Vulture – 10
Bald Eagle – 1

Monarch – 12

MSRW Takes Flight and Plans Next Phase

Earlier this month, we announced plans for new research starting in Mackinaw City and released our final spring 2016 report. Besides core work with hawks and owls in the last three years, we have added a survey of waterbirds migrating through the Straits of Mackinac. This will run from August 20 through November 10. In addition, owl research will be conducted from September 20 through November 10 near St. Ignace.

Chair, Ed Pike, said “We welcome the public to come and see loons, grebes, ducks, and other waterbirds in migration. The observation site is McGulpin Point, two miles west of Mackinaw City near the McGulpin Point Lighthouse. Bring binoculars and a spotting scope if possible, as some of the birds fly at quite a distance.” During the first spring survey of waterbirds this year, paid counter Jason Newton tallied more than 10,000 waterbirds of 38 species, including two species of Loons and three species each of Scoters, Mergansers, and Grebes. He confirmed that both Redheads and Long-tailed Ducks stay for long periods of time in the Straits, apparently resting and feeding there. Newton’s highlight was a Black-legged Kittiwake spied at close range on April 12. Pike explained that gathering accurate base-line data on the use of the Straits by waterbirds is vital to understanding the biological importance of the area. “This was significant as the first spring count, especially since it tallied 570 Common Loons, a bird of concern to conservationists due to its generally declining numbers in Michigan.

Pike continued, “Our sixth spring Hawk Count in Mackinaw City also was successful, with a total of 47,090 daytime raptors of 18 species. This is roughly the same number as last spring. The highlight came April 13 when we set a record among dozens of other hawk counts in the country. Professional counter, Kevin Georg, tallied 4,966 Red-tailed Hawks that day, following a stretch of wintry weather that held up migration.” Site records include Turkey and Black Vultures, Ospreys, Bald Eagles, Northern Harriers, Sharp-shinned Hawks, Northern Goshawks, Red-shouldered Hawks, Merlins, Peregrine Falcons, and the first-ever Gyrfalcon. The Straits continues to hold the record for the most Golden Eagles seen east of the Mississippi.

Other important research findings came from the owl survey done at Cheboygan State Park where professional banders caught 76 Northern Saw-whet Owls and 6 Long-eared Owls. Five of the saw-whets already wore bands, placed on them by biologists at Whitefish Point; St. Ignace (banded by MSRW fall 2015); Silver Islet (Ontario), Indiana, and Cheboygan State Park (which Pike banded years ago). Pike is proud of this bird: “I banded this female in spring 2011. We now know that she has lived at least 6 years and is using the same migration route. We hope to see her again, as they can live about 9 years.”

More guests visited MSRW events than ever before. After Secretary, Kathy Bricker, entered the guest list data, she found 1,326 recorded outdoor guests from five countries, 13 states, and 139 Michigan cities. Eleven indoor talks by volunteers were attended by another 333 guests. Bricker added “The first Mackinaw Raptor Fest, funded largely by the Petoskey-Harbor Springs Area Community Foundation, drew 81 fully-paid registrants. We were thrilled that 281 others enjoyed free portions of the weekend, including a program with live hawks and owls.” People may see photos, learn early plans for the April 7 to 9, 2017 Mackinaw Raptor Fest, and watch the fall research results come in at www.mackinacraptorwatch.org.

Rebecca Lessard holding a Peregrine Falcon rehabilitated by Wings of Wonder.

Rebecca Lessard holding a Peregrine Falcon rehabilitated by Wings of Wonder.

Elder, Tony Grondin, honors eagles at first Mackinaw Raptor Fest in Mackinaw City

Elder, Tony Grondin, honors eagles at first Mackinaw Raptor Fest in Mackinaw City

Record number of Golden Eagles seen at Mackinaw City Hawk Count. Image by Steve Baker.

Record number of Golden Eagles seen at Mackinaw City Hawk Count. Image by Steve Baker.

Guests enjoy watching hawks in Mackinaw City with hawk counter, Kevin Georg.

Guests enjoy watching hawks in Mackinaw City with hawk counter, Kevin Georg.

Water bird counter, Jason Newton, recording data on the water birds seen migrating through the Straits of Mackinac.

Water bird counter, Jason Newton, recording data on the water birds seen migrating through the Straits of Mackinac.

 

 

Waterbird Count, Aug 23-28

Last few days of waterbird counting have been fairly eventful. August 23 and 24 were slow compared to the first three days of the count, but I did have 5 Great Egrets on the 23rd. August 25 brought a nice diversity of ducks finally, with 5 species seen. On August 26, an unidentified jaeger species was seen harassing a Herring Gull and then flying west extremely fast. Due to distance, identification was nearly impossible. August 27 was rainy and visibility was low. On August 28, I had my best day of Red-necked Grebes thus far with 120 birds. In addition, I had an adult Pomarine/Parasitic Jaeger flying fairly close to shore. Unfortunately, my view of the jaeger was primarily of it flying directly away from me so I couldn’t visualize its tail streamers or body structure very well, which prevented me from making a definitive ID. Hopefully the third time is a charm and I will have another jaeger come by that I can actually identify.

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Canada Goose – 35
Hooded Merganser – 1
Common Loon – 19
Red-necked Grebe – 10
Double-crested Cormorant – 113
Great Blue Heron – 1
Great Egret – 5
Turkey Vulture – 2

Northern Harrier – 1
Bald Eagle – 2
Merlin – 1

buy Premarin ( Conjugated Estrogens) August 24 — Rainy and overcast
Canada Goose – 9
Mallard – 2
Common Loon – 8
Horned Grebe – 1
Red-necked Grebe – 1
Double-crested Comorant – 99
Great Blue Heron – 5
Green Heron – 1

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Canada Goose – 25
American Black Duck – 1
Mallard – 7
Blue-winged Teal – 1
Redhead – 2
White-winged Scoter – 2
Common Loon – 17
Horned Grebe – 4
Red-necked Grebe – 46
Double-crested Cormorant – 146
Great Blue Heron – 1
Great Egret – 2

Turkey Vulture – 5
Northern Harrier – 1
Bald Eagle – 1
Least Sandpiper -3

August 26
Mallard – 1
Redhead – 2
White-winged Scoter – 3
Common Loon – 31
Red-necked Grebe – 37
Double-crested Comorant – 75
Great Blue Heron – 3
jaeger sp. – 1

Turkey Vulture – 9
Northern Harrier – 2
Bald Eagle – 5

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Mute Swan – 2
White-winged Scoter – 3
Common Loon -6
Red-necked Grebe – 13
Double-crested Cormorant – 156
Great Blue Heron – 1
Common Tern – 2

Spotted Sandpiper – 1

August 28
Canada Goose – 6
Mallard – 1
Common Merganser – 10
Common Loon – 29
Horned Grebe – 3
Red-necked Grebe – 120
Double-crested Cormorant – 119
Great Blue Heron – 1
Pomarine/Parasitic Jaeger – 1

Turkey Vulture – 2
Northern Harrier – 1
Bald Eagle – 3

Fall 2016 waterbird count begins, August 20-22

I’m pleased to be back in Mackinaw City to conduct this fall’s waterbird count! This is a bit out of order since I have yet to post the spring waterbird count summary, but I will post that soon.

The fall count has started off great. In just the first hour of the first day I surpassed the entire spring total of Red-necked Grebes (which was only 20). Red-necked Grebes and Double-crested Cormorants are the main species on the move right now, with a handful of Common Loons as well. Very few ducks so far, but of note were 4 White-winged Scoters.

August 20
Canada Goose – 15
Mallard – 1
White-winged Scoter – 3
Hooded Merganser – 1
duck sp. – 1
Common Loon – 5
Red-necked Grebe – 59
Double-crested Cormorant – 115
Great Blue Heron – 5
Green Heron – 1

Bald Eagle – 3
Spotted Sandpiper – 4

August 21
(Strong winds and dense heat shimmer resulted in some missed IDs)
Common Merganser – 1
duck sp. – 26
Common Loon – 7
loon sp. – 3
Horned Grebe – 6
Red-necked Grebe – 97
Double-crested Cormorant – 87
Great Blue Heron – 1

Northern Harrier – 1
Bald Eagle – 1

August 22
Canada Goose – 7
White-winged Scoter – 1
Hooded Merganser – 6
Common Loon – 16
loon sp. – 1
Horned Grebe – 5
Red-necked Grebe – 81
Double-crested Cormorant – 177
Great Blue Heron – 1

Turkey Vulture – 1
Northern Harrier – 3
Bald Eagle – 5
Merlin – 1

Press Release, Spring Count Results, August 2016

Raptor Group Takes Flight and Plans Next Phase

The Mackinac Straits Raptor Watch today announced plans for new research starting soon in Mackinaw City and released its final spring 2016 report.  Besides core work with hawks and owls, the three-year-old group has added a survey of waterbirds migrating through the Straits of Mackinac.  This will run from August 20 through November 10.  In addition, owl research will be conducted from September 20 through November 10 near St. Ignace.

Chair Ed Pike said “We welcome the public to come and see loons, grebes, ducks, and other waterbirds in migration.  The observation site is McGulpin Point, two miles west of Mackinaw City near the McGulpin Point Lighthouse.  Bring binoculars and a spotting scope if possible, as some of the birds fly at quite a distance.”  During the first spring survey of waterbirds this year, paid counter Jason Newton tallied more than 10,000 waterbirds of 38 species, including two species of Loons and three species each of Scoters, Mergansers, and Grebes.  He confirmed that both Redheads and Long-tailed Ducks stay for long periods of time in the Straits, apparently resting and feeding there.  Newton’s highlight was a Black-legged Kittiwake spied at close range on April 12.  Pike explained that gathering accurate base-line data on the use of the Straits by waterbirds is vital to understanding the biological importance of the area.  “This was significant as the first spring count, especially since it tallied 570 Common Loons, a bird of concern to conservationists due to its generally declining numbers in Michigan.

Pike continued, “Our sixth spring Hawk Count in Mackinaw City also was successful, with a total of 47,090 daytime raptors of 18 species.  This is roughly the same number as last spring.  The highlight came April 13 when we set a record among dozens other hawk counts in the country.  Professional counter Kevin Georg tallied 4,966 Red-tailed Hawks that day, following a stretch of wintry weather that held up migration.”  Site records include Turkey and Black Vultures, Ospreys, Bald Eagles, Northern Harriers, Sharp-shinned Hawks, Northern Goshawks, Red-shouldered Hawks,  Merlins, Peregrine Falcons, and the first-ever Gyrfalcon.  The Straits continues to hold the record for the most golden eagles seen east of the Mississippi.

Other important research findings came from the owl survey done at Cheboygan State Park where professional banders caught 76 Northern Saw-whet Owls and 6 Long-eared Owls.  Five of the Saw-whets already wore bands, placed on them by biologists at Whitefish Point; St. Ignace (banded by MSRW fall 2015); Silver Islet (Ontario), Indiana, and Cheboygan State Park.  Pike is proud of this bird: “I banded this female in spring 2011.  We now know that she has lived at least 6 years and is using the same migration route.  We hope to see her again, as they can live about 9 years.”

More guests visited MSRW events than ever before.  After Secretary Kathy Bricker entered the guest list data, she found 1,326 recorded outdoor guests from five countries, 13 states, and 139 Michigan cities.  Eleven indoor talks by volunteers were attended by another 333 guests.  Bricker added “The first Mackinaw Raptor Fest, funded largely by the Petoskey-Harbor Springs Area Community Foundation, drew 81 fully-paid registrants.  We were thrilled that 281 others enjoyed free portions of the weekend, including a program with live hawks and owls.”  People may see photos, learn early plans for the April 7 to 9, 2017 Mackinaw Raptor Fest, and watch the fall research results come in at www.mackinacraptorwatch.org.