Waterbird Count, April 26

Today the visibility was consistently low throughout the day even after the rain had subsided; the Upper Peninsula was not visible at any point during the observation period.  The rain started coming down hard at about 7:20 AM, then gradually receded by 9:30 AM.  By 11:30 AM, the visibility started to improve as the fog lifted and the clouds got thinner, allowing more sunlight to penetrate through.  The maximum visibility at McGulpin Point was approximately 1.5 miles, although the average visibility was closer to one half mile.  The species densities certainly took a hit for the count today, although this was not surprising given that only the birds very close to shore were visible.  What was surprising was the fact that the species diversity in the count today was as good as any other day for waterbirds, raptors, and other birds alike.  The big highlight for the day was the two small groups of Killdeers migrating east in the early hours, which had almost stumped me due to the fog concealing the first group, leaving me with only their shapes and flight pattern to go on- until the second group flew by.

Redhead– 4
Greater Scaup – 3
Lesser Scaup – 2
White-winged Scoter – 11
Long-tailed Duck – 8
Bufflehead – 1
Common Merganser – 11
Red-breasted Merganser – 62
Common Loon – 6
Horned Grebe – 3
Double-crested Cormorant – 25
duck sp. – 6

Other Species:
Great Blue Heron – 1
Turkey Vulture – 1
Osprey – 2
Sharp-shinned Hawk – 1
Accipiter sp. – 1
Northern Harrier – 2
Rough-legged Hawk – 1
Killdeer – 11
American Kestrel – 1
Merlin – 1