Waterbird Count – 27 & 29 October

Today (the 29th) was a busy day at McGulpin! The weather was finally clear throughout the count, with light NW winds and the first spattering of snow into the afternoon. Large flocks of ducks were moving on the horizon, and Red-breasted and Common Mergansers were loafing in rafts with Horned Grebes throughout the day. Long-tails were also active in good numbers, but the highlight of the day by far was the appearance of a Harlequin Duck (likely the same bird from St. Ignace last weekend) right off the beach. It looked like a young bird, and was foraging near the shore for about three hours in the morning before I lost track of it. I think it either took off or drifted around the west point of the beach, so perhaps it will be back tomorrow as well.

It was nice to have the Harlequin loafing so close to the beach for much of the morning.

I’ve added the numbers from the short count on the 27th to the bottom of this post as well – I cut it short due to poor visibility conditions.

Redhead – 20
Aythya sp. – 20
Harlequin Duck – 1
White-winged Scoter – 13
Scoter sp. – 8
Long-tailed Duck – 137
Common Merganser – 32
Red-breasted Merganser – 26
Merganser sp. – 2
Duck sp. – 1082
Common Loon – 1
Horned Grebe – 5
Red-necked Grebe – 2
Double-crested Cormorant – 9
Ring-billed Gull – 5
Herring Gull – 1
Other species:
Turkey Vulture – 5
Bald Eagle –  2
American Crow – 8
Common Raven – 1
27 October (Rainy day with bad visibility, count cut short after the first 2 hours)
Aythya sp. – 130
Long-tailed Duck – 7
Common Merganser – 3
Duck sp. – 55
Double-crested Cormorant – 5
Ring-billed Gull – 7
Herring Gull – 1