-.6C at the start of the count, which is tropical for the winter waterbird count! No wind and no wave action either. It warmed up fast today and I could hardly make out the barges anchored in the straits. They are only 1.5 miles from McGulpin Point, but the heat shimmer was extreme. Today would have to be the worst day of visibility since the frequent snow storms. Bad heat shimmer makes me actually miss the snowstorms. At least once I got my binoculars and spotting scope clear of snow and spindrift I was able to see birds. Nothing like seeing the silhouette of a bird in the heat shimmer and then madly shifting back and forth the focus only to find out you can’t make out any field marks on passing birds. The winds kicked up towards the end of the count to make sure things stayed cold. Winter is still hanging on at McGulpin Point with 21cm of snow and ice near the gazebo. Most of the ice wall is gone along the lakeshore.
Waterbird Notes –
(21) HOGR were visible before the heat shimmer kicked in. (6) RNGR were out in the straits as well. (22) COLO moved through today and I have no doubt I missed just as many in the heat shimmer. CATE (5) are being seen more regularly in the straits. A couple of copulating HEGU (2) let me know spring was in the air.
Non- waterbird Notes –
The most exciting thing to happen today was a resident Merlin nearly taking out a bird, likely a NOFL about 10 feet away from me. The Merlin was so close it had to shake it off as it flew away to the west of me. The second most exciting thing was one of the resident BCCH collecting nesting material from almost near my feet today. The bird kept flying under my chair on its back and forth forays. I imagine this is to let me know to keep the feeders full. The third most exciting thing about today was BARS (3) flying out in front of McGulpin several times during the count.
No RESQ today, but the crackers I left out for it were swiped by something!
Roger Blough east bound at 10:15. I was lucky this boat came through when it did so I could get a good handle on LTDU. If it had come later in the day it would have been worthless as I couldn’t make any birds out in the channel through the heat shimmer.
Kathy and Jim Bricker stopped by bearing snacks!
Total observer hours – 7.75
Next days forecast –
A chance of showers between 11pm and 3am. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 46. South wind 5 to 15 mph. Chance of precipitation is 50%.
Todays tally is posted on eBird here.
Total Species: 34
Total Count : 790