1.7C at the start of the count today at 6:00AM. Superb waterbird observation weather today at McGulpin Point. Virtually no wind for the entire day, no wave action and heat shimmer didn’t become an issue until the last 1.5 hours of the count.
Waterbird Notes –
Surprisingly it wasn’t a busy flight as I would have expected. LESC (7), GRSC (1) and RNDU (4) are all being seen more regularly now. Although patience is a virtue as I have no idea as to when or where they might be spotted. They do tend to fly in from the east and loaf to the west of McGulpin Point. Once they are loafing on the water they are near impossible to spot. (46) COLO came through in a steady trickle today. (29) HOGR and (1) RNGR rounded out the Podiceps.
Non- waterbird Notes –
The first YRWA (1) of this years count was heard behind the gazebo in the afternoon. A nice surprise to the end of the count was AWPE (4) spotted about mid – channel winging north low over the water to the Pt. Labarbe vicinity.
RESQ actually has me trained now which wasn’t I had hoped for. I had hoped I could train it to help me spot COLO. Instead RESQ now arrives at dawns early light with an appetite for crackers. If the crackers aren’t provided a loud chatter ensues from behind the gazebo. Now it appears RESQ is possibly interested in just helping itself to the stash in my duffel bag. I do believe there may have been an altercation between RESQ and the BLSQ today, but I didn’t catch the entire thing as I was visiting with Audrey and Cliff.
Stewart J. Cort east bound at 12:22.
Audrey and Cliff stopped by to see some WWSC and LTDU. As such Audrey put me on the first WWSC of the day while Cliff spotted our BAEA. Not only am I inspired by the young birders who have visited the water bird count this year, but by life long birders like Audrey and Cliff or Leonard Graf. The wealth of information these people possess and experiences they have had tracking birds down is admirable. I really enjoyed their company today and hope they had a good time at French Farm Lake.
The road down to the parking lot and the lot have completely melted out. It has dried out sufficiently too. The shore is completely ice free and there is no ice or snow on the gravel beach leading to the gazebo. It is important to note that I count from the gazebo which gets no sun currently. I have been able to shed one layer from the winter clothing system and the sleeping bag most days as of late, but be aware I am not counting from the boat ramp for a variety of reasons. Primarily less traffic disturbance, a better perch to view from and bigger horizon to scan. Additionally the gazebo acts as a blind allowing me to detect many raptors at a close distance. Even more so I don’t have to smell cigarettes wafting in the wind or deal with the occasional loose dog. So if birding near the waterbird counter is of interest be prepared to be cold! I have noticed that 6:00AM – 10:00AM is currently the busiest part of the days flight as of late. There is a marked drop off in the afternoon. However, this is entirely weather dependent. If cold, wet weather or unfavorable winds are on hand the entire flight could be almost non- existent or pushed back until later in the day when conditions are favorable. I have yet to determine what conditions are favorable for all waterbirds. Although it does seem as of late COLO do fly when raptors are on the move and I have seen WWSC take advantage of the same conditions.
There is about 8 days left in this seasons count and I did want to give a brief update on the seasons numbers. 89 species of birds have been detected and 29,124 individuals have been tallied. It will be interesting to see what happens over the next week. I am not sure if migration has already passed McGulpin Point or if it is still ramping up.
Total observer hours – 8.0
Next days forecast –
Sunny, with a high near 63. West wind around 5 mph.
Todays tally is posted on eBird here.
Total Species: 37
Total Count : 877