Waterbird Tour, Nov. 5, 2016

On Sat. Nov. 5, 2016 the Mackinac Straits Raptor Watch conducted a waterbird tour around the Straits area; starting at McGulpin Point with waterbird counter Jason Newton and then across the bridge to Saint Ignace area.  Sixteen people and the leaders Ed Pike and Steve Baker enjoyed great weather.

It was a beautiful day for Nov. 5 with temperatures starting in the forties and climbing into the sixties, sunny, with light to moderate westerly winds.  We observed 24 species of waterbirds and five species of Raptors with a few song birds mixed in giving us a total of 45 species for the day.

At McGulpin Point we had distant looks at Long-tailed Duck, Horned Grebe, Common Loon,  Red-breasted Merganser and Herring and Ring-billed Gull.

We then went across the Mackinac Bridge to the Saint Ignace area where we had great looks at Long-tailed Ducks, White-winged and Surf Scoters, Redhead Ducks (about 3000 in total), Red-necked and Horned Grebe, Bufflehead, Greater Scaup, Double-crested Cormorant, Common and Hooded Merganser, Common Goldeneye, Canada Goose, Mute Swan, Gadwall, Herring and Ring-billed Gull.   There was also a family of 2 adult and 2 young Sandhill Cranes on the beach at the north end of town.

After lunch we went to the Moran area and just east of Moran, Steve Baker observed a Rough-legged Hawk land in a tree.  We stopped to look at it and during the next 45 minutes were treated to several Rough-leg’s hovering with great looks at several light morph and one dark morph.  We saw a total of at least 10 Rough-leg, 2 N. Harrier, 2 Bald Eagle, 2 Red-tailed Hawk and to top it off had a great look at an adult Golden Eagle that flew over us.  We then went to Brevort Lake area and saw a Great Blue Heron, Bufflehead, Lesser Scaup, Hooded Merganser, Green-winged Teal.

Along the way in our travels we observed Ruffed Grouse, Rock Pigeon, Mourning Dove, Red-bellied and Pileated Woodpecker, Blue Jay, Am. Crow, C. Raven, Black-capped Chickadee, Tufted Titmouse, Red-breasted Nuthatch, Am. Robin, European Starling, Am. Pipit, Snow Bunting and Am. Goldfinch.

A great day with great birds.

Ed Pike