Waterbird Count, April 29

The first four hours today were the most brutal; with gradually increasing winds shifting from west to northwest, and temperatures held firm in the mid-thirties, it felt like the beginning of the month again.  Although, considering that Lake Michigan was experiencing waves of up to seven feet during the same time frame in the Chicago area, it certainly could have been worse.  The clouds started to open up around 8:30 AM, but it was not until approximately 1:00 PM that the sky opened up completely and started to warm up.  There were many more visitors today, though not surprisingly, they did not start showing up until the sky was almost completely clear.  Among the visitors today were Sue Dunlan and Larry Van Wagoner from National City, who gave me a fantastic conversation about birding in Michigan to compliment the rising temperatures.  As for waterbird activity, the loons were moving west in large numbers in the early hours, but by 10:30 AM I was only seeing an average of one per hour.  There was also a disappointingly low number of White-winged Scoters today.  The first five were seen moving west at approximately 9:55 AM- very late in the count for this bird- while the sixth individual was seen moving east approximately three hours later.  When working for the sake of the environment, there will be good days and bad days, but every day is important for the sake of knowledge.

Canada Goose – 3
White-winged Scoter – 6
Long-tailed Duck – 218
Common Goldeneye – 3
Common Merganser – 7
Red-breasted Merganser – 89
Common Loon – 40
Horned Grebe – 4
Red-necked Grebe – 2
Double-crested Cormorant – 56
duck sp. – 13

Other Species:
Great Blue Heron – 1
Turkey Vulture – 2
Bald Eagle – 2