Monthly Archives: September 2016

Owl Banding 9/22/16

Pointe LaBarbe, St. Ignace, MI
Night of September 22, 2016

Scattered showers and heavy fog impeded banding last night. The nets were damp from the previous nights’ rain and the air was so thick with water, that it was unsafe to open the nets. Owls can only keep themselves warm when their feathers are dry and hanging in a damp net that is acting like a fog condenser is no good!

Waterbird Count, September 22

The day started off pretty bleak with rain from sunrise until around 10:20 AM. Once the rain stopped and visibility improved, waterbird movement increased pretty decently. I once again observed a huge group of ducks on the east side of the Mackinac Bridge lift off the water and land again, this time I estimated at least 1000. Geese were the main birds on the move, including 1 white morph Snow Goose. Passerine activity along the beach was quite high, I saw quite a few warblers and there were many American Pipits crossing the Straits.

Snow Goose – 1
Canada Goose – 234
American Black Duck – 3
Mallard – 11
Redhead – 88
Lesser Scaup – 1
White-winged Scoter – 3
Common Merganser – 8
duck sp. – 1038
Common Loon – 6
Horned Grebe – 4
Red-necked Grebe – 3
Double-crested Cormorant – 55
Great Blue Heron – 1

Sharp-shinned Hawk – 1
American Kestrel – 5

Sandhill Crane – 2

American Pipit – 74
Orange-crowned Warbler – 1
Nashville Warbler – 4
Northern Parula – 1
Magnolia Warbler – 1
Bay-breasted Warbler – 1
Blackburnian Warbler – 1
Blackpoll Warbler – 3
Palm Warbler – 4
Yellow-rumped Warbler – 2
Black-throated Green Warbler – 2

Owl Banding 9/21/16

Pointe LaBarbe St. Ignace, MI
Night of September 21st, 2016

Calm weather with almost no winds made for a decent night of banding. Before the rain started, two Northern Saw-whet Owls were caught; on the first net run we caught a hatch year (sex unknown), and on the second run we caught a hatch year male. Around 11 PM the winds picked up out of the Northeast, which according to Ed is bad migration weather and as result, we had no birds for the next several hours. Around 3:30 AM the rain started and when I went out to close the nets there was one last NSWO, another hatch year but our first female!

Waterbird Count, September 21

Just a day after my best ever duck flight I had an even better duck flight. Right at sunrise, huge flocks of ducks were in the air above St Ignace flying west. They were so distant they were almost not visible at 20x with my scope. I estimated around 830 ducks in these flocks. During the second hour, a cloud of ducks rose up off the water on the east side of the Mackinac Bridge and quickly settled back down. I roughly estimated 500 ducks, but it could have potentially been many more. Outside of unidentified ducks, it was a nice day of movement with good variety. I was happy to have Louie Dombroski visit the count for several hours and assist in identifying some of the distant flocks. Aside from ducks, there was a large movement of Canada Geese, resulting in my best day ever with 436 birds headed south. It was also an excellent day of raptor migration. I had my best day of Bald Eagles with 44 birds. I also topped my highest count of Sharp-shinned Hawks by 1. Last but not least, it was also by far the best Monarch migration I’ve seen yet, with 108 butterflies crossing the Straits.

Canada Goose – 436
Gadwall – 3
American Wigeon – 3
teal sp. – 1
Redhead – 98
Greater Scaup – 33
Greater/Lesser Scaup – 9
White-winged Scoter – 33
Common Merganser – 7
Red-breasted Merganser – 9
duck sp. – 1524
Red-throated Loon – 1
Common Loon – 17
Horned Grebe – 5
Red-necked Grebe – 3
Double-crested Cormorant – 42
Bonaparte’s Gull – 5

Turkey Vulture – 35
Northern Harrier – 1
Sharp-shinned Hawk – 22
Sharp-shinned/Cooper’s Hawk – 1
Northern Goshawk – 1
Accipiter sp. – 2
Bald Eagle – 44
Broad-winged Hawk – 14
Red-tailed Hawk – 7
American Kestrel – 1
Peregrine Falcon – 1

Sandhill Crane – 8
Sanderling – 3

Monarch – 108

Owl Banding 9/20/16

Pt. LaBarbe, St. Ignace, MI
Night of September 20th, 2016

Kim here, back from the spring migration and excited to be on the other side of Mackinac Straits! I’m glad to know that its not always cold here and we were treated to a nice warm night for the opening of the fall banding season, with temperatures in the high 60’s and low 70’s. However, there were high winds blowing from the Southwest which resulted in no owls captured last night. The only excitement for the night was a hare at one of the nets during morning closing. The upcoming forecast isn’t promising either, with thunderstorms and rain predicted for the next few days. Hopefully the weather will clear up and owls will start moving by this weekend!

Waterbird Count, September 20

Today was the largest duck flight I’ve had at McGulpin Point with over 1000 birds. Frustratingly, the majority of flocks were too distant to identify to species. A huge portion of the ducks were flying east.  I was thankful to have Phil Odum join me for the entire count today as it was very helpful to have two pairs of eyes. The predominant species was Redhead, with Scaup coming in at a distant second. There was an excellent variety of duck species with a couple first-of-the-season species — Gadwall and Lesser Scaup. Outside of ducks, it was also my best Loon day this season and the best falcon day I’ve ever had.

Canada Goose – 86
Gadwall – 1
American Wigeon – 3
Blue-winged Teal – 3
Northern Shoveler – 3
Green-winged Teal – 6
Redhead – 261
Greater Scaup – 13
Lesser Scaup – 10
Greater/Lesser Scaup – 48
Aythya sp. – 75
White-winged Scoter – 1
Common Goldeneye – 1
Common Merganser – 7
Red-breasted Merganser – 5
Common/Red-breasted Merganser – 4
duck sp. – 921
Red-throated Loon – 1
Common Loon – 51
loon sp. – 1
Horned Grebe – 6
Red-necked Grebe – 12
Double-crested Cormorant – 42

Northern Harrier – 6
Sharp-shinned Hawk – 9
Bald Eagle – 11
American Kestrel – 12
Merlin – 1
Peregrine Falcon – 1
falcon sp. – 7
Sandhill Crane – 19

Monarch – 16
Black Swallowtail – 1

Waterbird Count, September 19

Today brought a nice variety, including two first-of-the-season birds — Northern Shoveler and Red-breasted Merganser. As with yesterday, there were many distant, unidentifiable duck flocks headed east today. I had a nice Common Loon flight, tying my season record from 9/12 of 46 birds. Very little raptor migration today, I only had Kestrels actually cross the Straits.

Canada Goose – 1
Mallard – 3
Northern Shoveler – 3
Green-winged Teal – 4
Redhead – 27
Common Merganser – 6
Red-breasted Merganser – 2
duck sp. – 160
Red-throated Loon – 1
Common Loon – 46
Horned Grebe – 1
Red-necked Grebe – 5
Double-crested Cormorant – 69

Turkey Vulture – 16
Bald Eagle – 2
American Kestrel – 3

Waterbird Count, September 18

Nice numbers of ducks moving today, unfortunately most were too distant to ID…. The majority that I could ID were Redheads. Most of the unidentified ducks I saw landed to the east of the Mackinac Bridge. Aside from ducks, I had nice loon and eagle numbers. Another highlight was two Bonaparte’s Gulls among a feeding frenzy of Ring-billed Gulls, Herring Gulls, and Double-crested Cormorants. These species all seem to congregate together to feed in productive areas. I’m not sure what exactly is going on, but it seems the Cormorants cause fish to swim closer to the surface for the Gulls to catch? I filmed a short video of it, which I’ll link below.

Canada Goose – 21
Mallard – 1
Redhead – 173
Greater/Lesser Scaup – 6
White-winged Scoter – 2
Common Merganser – 13
duck sp. – 231
Red-throated Loon – 1
Common Loon – 30
loon sp. – 5
Horned Grebe – 6
Red-necked Grebe – 12
Double-crested Cormorant – 47
Bonaparte’s Gulls – 2

Turkey Vulture – 10
Sharp-shinned Hawk – 3
Bald Eagle – 32

Monarch – 2

Waterbird Count, September 17

A pretty unremarkable day. It rained for about 30 minutes during the first hour. Scaup and Horned Grebes showed an increase today and a decent number of Monarchs flew by.

Canada Goose – 7
Greater Scaup – 1
Greater/Lesser Scaup – 15
Common Merganser – 22
duck sp. – 4
Red-throated Loon – 1
Common Loon – 8
loon sp. – 1
Horned Grebe – 8
Red-necked Grebes – 1
Double-crested Cormorant – 48

Turkey Vulture – 7
Sharp-shinned Hawk – 3
Accipiter sp. – 4
Bald Eagle – 3

Monarch – 9

Waterbird Count, September 16

A decent morning of waterbirds gave way to a decent afternoon of raptors. A lot of Redheads were on the move, mostly flying west. An unidentified swan was flying and then landed on the water very far out, seemingly along Pointe La Barbe. I believe there are Mute Swans along that coast, so it was likely one of them. With raptors, I had the most Bald Eagles I’ve ever had on the count, as well as three species of falcons.

swan sp. – 1
Redhead – 139
Greater/Lesser Scaup – 1
Aythya sp. – 20
Hooded Merganser – 2
Common Merganser – 10
duck sp. – 21
Common Loon – 15
loon sp. – 1
Horned Grebe – 1
Red-necked Grebe – 2
Double-crested Cormorant – 89

Turkey Vulture – 18
Osprey – 3
Sharp-shinned Hawk – 7
Accipiter sp. – 1
Bald Eagle – 36
Red-tailed Hawk – 1
American Kestrel – 2
Merlin – 2
Peregrine Falcon – 1

Monarch – 1

Sharp-shinned Hawk, 9/15/16

Sharp-shinned Hawk, 9/15/16