A beautiful morning to be observing waterbirds with a temperature of just below freezing and no wind. No waves for the birds to hide behind either. Leonard Graf summed up todays weather best: ideal conditions to watch waterbirds. By the end of the count the wind had picked up to 12-19kph out of the west. The waves increased to 4ft out in the channel and the heat shimmer was noticeable. Temperature was a wonderful 10.6C. The barometer fell steadily during the count.
Waterbird Notes –
Solid flight of COLO(51) and an additional (3) loon sp. It really helped to have two sets of eyes on hand as I sometimes have my head down for several minutes trying to estimate large rafts of ducks like the LTDU (554) out in the channel. A highlight of the count was (4) GWTE hauling out onto shore near McGulpin Rock to rest. A person would have to be blind to not delight in these wonderfully colored teal. CANG (213) were on the move with several large flocks in a “V” heading north.
Non- waterbird Notes –
Underneath one of the “V’s” of CANG was a lone SSHA (1) trying to slip by undetected. It was interesting to note that although lower in altitude than the high flying CANG the SSHA was on the exact same flight path. I am beginning to think more about the possibility of other migratory birds cueing in on each other during migration. COLO flying out of kettles of raptors and raptors flying below waterbirds who are making efficient work of crossing the straits. The resident (1) Merlin was seen out in the straits crossing along its usual flight path just to the west of the gazebo and flying south. I would imagine the pickings out in the straits with the arrival of TRES is starting to get good. The forest behind the gazebo was pretty lively and at several points through the day large groups of YSFL (19) crossed together in small groups. The resident YSFL will escort them kindly about 100 meters out into the straits before returning back to McGulpin to continue calling and establishing their territories.
American Spirit east bound at 8:18, RTC 100 west bound at 9:22, Phillip R. Clarke east bound at 9:22, Mesabi Miner west bound 2:07 and John J. Boland west bound at 2:17.
Leonard Graf put in a serious effort this morning fleshing out the days count and capturing many of the COLO! Ed Pike came by for a visit at the end of the day and stoked me out on a new MSRW hoodie! I like that it has all of the raptors represented on the back and the bridge. I look forward to wearing it proudly out west during fall raptor migration.
Total observer hours – 8.0
Next days forecast –
Generally cloudy with a high of 46F. Winds north west at 5 – 10mph.
Todays tally is posted on eBird here.
Total Species: 45
Total Count : 1421