Monthly Archives: September 2017

Waterbird Count – 29 September

Strong north winds and intermittent rain throughout the count today, which made visibility pretty limited during peak activity in the morning. Still a lot of duck activity today, and very little Loon or raptor activity. Again the majority of the ducks seem to be Redheads, with some Scaup and miscellaneous other species mixed in in smaller numbers. A group of five Great Egrets flew over the straits in the rain early this morning, which is the first time I’ve seen them this month.
Green-winged Teal – 1
Redhead – 130
Greater Scaup – 2
Aythya sp. – 10
White-winged Scoter – 4
Scoter sp. – 2
Common Merganser – 9
Duck sp. – 154
Common Loon – 5
Red-necked Grebe – 2
Double-created Cormorant – 54
Great Egret – 5
Ring-billed Gull – 16
Herring Gull – 8
Other species:
Turkey Vulture – 1
Bald Eagle – 4
American Crow – 2

Hawk Count – Sept. 28

Today Ed Pike and Sue Stewart counted Raptors at Point LaBarbe. Tom Wasilewski from Pennsylvania stopped by and visited for the afternoon on his way to Hawk Ridge, Deluth, Minn. Overall it was an unexpectedly slow day. Although we did see several flocks of Athya (probably Redheads) flying east. The weather was nice with moderate winds and sunshine with temps in the mid- 60’s. Nice after those days of 80’s. Several “V”‘s of Canada Geese and Sandhill Cranes were seen moving south. Two Rudy Turnstones flew over the point headed south. The list is below

Turkey Vulture 12
N. Harrier 1
Sharp-shinned Hawk 12
Cooper’s Hawk 1
Bald Eagle 8
Red-tailed Hawk 1
Am. Kestrel 2
Peregrine Falcon 1

Sandhill Crane 131
Monarch Butterfly 23

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Saw-Whet banding update September 28th

Good evening MSRW blog followers! Just a quick update on what has been going on. On September 27th we had our nets open all night and were able to catch 9 more Saw-whets. The season total is now at 52!

The excitement of last night was catching an ASY (After Second Year) female. This means that this bird is in at least its third year of life. We know this by examining the remiges (flight feathers) under UV light to see which feathers fluoresce pink. More pink means newest or the freshest feathers and if we see little or none it is an older feather that has not been replaced or was replaced quite a while ago. Thus the picture below shows three generations of feathers meaning the bird is at least in its third year!! We wish her a successful migration and hopefully she will return next spring to raise a family.

1 of 9 Saw-whets captured last night

After Second Year (ASY) molt pattern of Northern Saw- whet owl

Waterbird Count – 28 September

The wind calmed down today compared to yesterday, but still had a good deal of duck activity. Aythya ducks were flying back and forth in flocks of 10-100 throughout the day, seeming to be heading roughly to and from the regular staging spot at the north end of the bridge. It appeared that the majority were Redheads, but some Greater Scaup were definitely in the mix as well. Loon and Raptor numbers are way down today from the last few days, and Common Mergansers weren’t making much of an appearance either, but it’s great to see that the Redheads are starting to move through.

Canada Goose – 25
Redhead – 95
Greater Scaup – 6
Scaup sp. – 7
Aythya sp. – 315
Hooded Merganser – 1
Common Merganser – 6
Red-breasted Merganser – 5
Duck sp. – 214
Common Loon – 3
Red-necked Grebe – 18
Double-crested Cormorant – 12
Ring-billed Gull – 15
Herring Gull – 7
Gull sp. – 250

Other species:
Bald Eagle – 1
American Crow – 1
Common Raven – 2
Monarch Butterfly – 1

Hawk Count – Sept. 27

Ed Pike was joined by Steve Baker, Bruce Seeger, and Sue Bissett. It was cool and windy, a 20 to 25 degree temperature drop from yesterday. The winds were from the west-northwest and fairly strong. Counting occurred from 10:30 am till 3 Pm. There were scattered light rain showers a few times that stopped the Raptors for a short time. There were also peaks of blue sky occasionally. When the blue patches appeared groups of Raptors would appear and seemed to follow the blue patches to the southeast. Many of the Raptors were very high when crossing. The totals are below.
Turkey Vulture 8
N. Harrier 4
Sharp-shinned Hawk 39
Cooper’s Hawk 1
Bald Eagle 9
Broad-winged Hawk 44
Red-tailed Hawk 7
Am. Kestrel 10
Merlin 1
Peregrine Falcon 3
Unidentified Falcon 2

Sandhill Crane 37
Monarch Butterfly 2

Waterbird Count – 27 September

The cold front that came in yesterday afternoon brought cooler weather, patchy rain, and strong northwest winds throughout the count today. Way more ducks today than we’ve had so far this season, and a good deal of Loon activity as well, including a Red-throated. Most of the ducks were flying east in small flocks of 10-30, and appeared to be primarily Redheads when they were close enough to identify. White-winged Scoters were also moving through today, and there seemed to be several groups of Common Mergansers that were migrating in addition to the Mergansers that have been foraging by the beach for the past several weeks. Also had the highest number of Canada Geese so far this season, with large flocks that were coming over throughout the morning.

A couple of harriers, a Kestrel, and a large group of Turkey Vultures came over this morning as well, which surprised me given the strong winds.

Canada Goose – 520
Redhead – 42
Aythya sp – 40
White-winged Scoter – 5
Scoter sp – 6
Hooded Merganser – 1
Common Merganser – 26
Duck sp – 166
Red-throated Loon – 1
Common Loon – 62
Red-necked Grebe – 2
Double-crested Cormorant – 14
Ring-billed Gull – 11
Herring Gull – 9

Other species:
Turkey Vulture – 30
Northern Harrier – 2
Bald Eagle – 1
American Kestrel – 1

Owl Banding Update September 27th

Greetings everyone! After reporting the band number on our foreign recap yesterday we have learned that we captured a bird that was originally banded in Brown County, Wisconsin in the fall of 2016 as a hatch year (HY) bird. We were also happy to hear that we aged it correctly as a second year (SY) bird. It is always reassuring to know that you are aging birds correctly.

On September 25th, we were open all night. The skies were clear, the temperatures finally cooled down a bit, and there was a quarter moon. We suspected that these conditions would contribute to us having another successful night of banding. Indeed, this seemed to be the case as we banded 12 more owls.  On the 26th we were only able to open for a few hours before we had to close due to strong winds but managed to capture 2 more owls bringing our season total to 43 Saw-whets in just a week.

One of 12 Saw-whets captured on the night of the 25th.

Hawk Count – Sept. 26

Today Ed Pike counted the Raptors migrating south across the Straits. It was another sunny and hot day with light winds. Around 1 pm the winds died down and the temperature jumped 10 to 15 degrees to 89 degrees. Thankfully the wind started again from the west at 2 pm and it cooled down slightly. There was a slow but steady stream of Raptors today although few Buteo’s were present. We had our first Golden Eagle today which was nice to see. The list is below.
Turkey Vulture 1
Osprey 5
Golden Eagle 1
N. Harrier 2
Sharp-shinned hawk 81
Cooper’s Hawk 4
Bald Eagle 4
Broad-winged Hawk 5
Red-tailed Hawk 5
Am. Kestrel 14
Merlin 1
Peregrine Falcon 1

Monarch Butterfly 10

Waterbird Count – 25 & 26 September

The past two days have been similar in weather and bird activity – aside from a front that brought in clouds and north winds this afternoon, it’s been hot, calm, and clear. Subsequently, there’s been little duck movement, but Sharp-shinned Hawks have been trickling over consistently, and Loons have been moving in good number both mornings. The calm weather also seems to be good for monarch movement. Songbird flocks have been coming over several times a morning for the past few days as well. They seem to be primarily warblers, but they’ve been flying straight over the beach and heading back into the woods, so I haven’t been able to get a good look at many of them.

25 September
Canada Goose – 50
Mallard – 2
Redhead – 6
Hooded Merganser – 2
Common Merganser – 62
Common Loon – 47
Horned Grebe – 2
Red-necked Grebe – 2
Double-crested Cormorant – 24
Ring-billed Gull – 9
Herring Gull – 12

Other species:
Sharp-shinned Hawk – 43
Bald Eagle – 8
American Kestrel – 3
Merlin – 1
American Crow – 2
Common Raven – 7
Tufted Titmouse – 1
Red-breasted Nuthatch – 1
Monarch Butterfly – 51

26 September
Canada Goose – 49
Hooded Merganser – 1
Common Merganser – 16
Common Loon – 21
Red-necked Grebe – 4
Double-crested Cormorant – 18
Ring-billed Gull – 3
Herring Gull – 5

Other species:
Northern Harrier – 2
Sharp-shinned Hawk – 49
Bald Eagle – 2
Belted Kingfisher – 1
Pileated Woodpecker – 1
American Kestrel – 3
Blue Jay – 50
American Crow – 2
Common Raven – 3
Black-capped Chickadee – 4
Tufted Titmouse – 1
Monarch Butterfly – 16

Owl Mania!

Hello fellow Strigiphiles. As promised, there is more excitement to share with you from the previous banding nights. During the last three nights (Sept. 22, 23, and 24) we had exceptionally good weather with clear skies and no wind. Although it was quite warm, conditions nevertheless were still good for owl banding.

The night of the 22nd added 3 newly banded Saw-whets to the total season count. However, the first big night occurred on the 23rd in which we captured and banded 14 new Saw- whets. Then on the night of the 24th we captured 4 Saw- whets, one of which was previously banded somewhere else. Frances and I aged this bird as a second year (SY) female. It will be interesting to see how old this bird was when it was initially banded and where it came from. To date since opening our nets we have a total of 29 Northern Saw- whet captures, 28 of which we banded and 1 foreign recapture. Stay tuned for our next blog post to find out where our mystery owl came from!

Second Year (SY) female Saw-whet foreign recapture

You can clearly see the molt limit on this owl. The darker feathers indicate the newest generation of feathers replaced this fall, The more dull light brown are older retained feathers that are yet to be replaced.