Waterbird Count, March 30

Today was yet another windy day, and although the first hour was fairly quiet, activity for waterfowl and other species was moving at a fever pitch by 9:30 AM.  The biggest thing to note for the day was the high numbers of Red-breasted Mergansers moving through and resting.  Although the total count came to over six hundred, I have my doubts at how accurately this number represents the actual number of Red-breasted Mergansers seen today.  Most individuals were seen moving east, but a fair number of them could have come back down since the easterly winds today were blowing at a minimum of fourteen miles per hour.  However, the energy cost of flying into the wind back and forth throughout the day makes it seem less likely that a majority of them would have shifted directions more than once.  At around 9:00 AM a pair of Northern Pintails paused during their easterly flight to rest in the middle of the straits among the myriad of mergansers.  The first American Black Duck for the season was also sighted today at around 3:00 PM trailing behind five Mallards heading east.  Raptor activity today was also very good; high numbers of Bald Eagles, the first confirmed Sharp-shinned Hawk, along with a Merlin and fair counts of other Buteo raptors.

Canada Goose – 25
American Black Duck – 1
Mallard – 12
Northern Pintail – 2
Redhead – 32
White-winged Scoter – 6
Long-tailed Duck – 18
Common Goldeneye – 21
Common Merganser – 33
Red-breasted Merganser – 646
Common/Red-breasted Merganser – 2
duck sp. – 10

Other Species:
Turkey Vulture – 5
Sharp-shinned Hawk – 1
Accipiter sp. – 1
Northern Harrier – 2
Bald Eagle – 9
Red-tailed Hawk – 4
Rough-legged Hawk – 3
Buteo sp. – 2
Merlin – 1