Dour weather holds back waterbirds

4/29: Decent morning, finally with some lateral winds through the straits. These seemed to get the long-tails into more purposeful motion, with several hundred flying East through the morning, along with a few small white-winged scoter flocks, and the ever-present loons. Other species and all non-waterbirds in short supply. 

eBird list: https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S55564621

Evening count dogged first by strong East winds, then snow, then rain as the night wore on, so very little in motion. A Caspian tern at the start of the count and an East-flying osprey were the two highlights. Present, too, was the usual bufflehead flock, though interestingly tonight twelve of these birds flew off West near to sunset—the first time I’ve seen a group in the act of leaving the Bay—so this may indicate individual turnover among the group despite essentially steady numbers. No tricolored, sadly. 

eBird list: https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S55578100

Sunrise, McGulpin

4/30: Easterly winds continue, but to little effect. Steadier movements in early hours, particularly among long-tails far out in the straits, but almost no other species seen moving, aside from a few white-winged scoters, and the ever-intrepid loons. Some grebes resting, and plentiful cormorants, which now appear to be fully back and ready to breed (with at least 50 in the area, 30-40 of which are seen daily across the straits in the trees at their colony site). 

eBird list: https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S55589909

Another slow evening count, but with pleasantly milder temperatures. Breeding activity is picking up: there are two active Canada goose nests, a mute swan nest, and a very vocal pair of pied-billed grebes finally seen calling together tonight. Peenting and sky-dancing woodcock male continues nightly. Many of the mergs (both common and red-breasted) appear to have paired up as well, as I am far more often seeing them in solo pairs or groups of a few males and a female than earlier in the season. Sandhill crane pair heard distantly; snipe and bittern silent tonight.  

eBird list: https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S55617194

Mating ring-billed gulls, McGulpin

4/31: Morning looked like it was going to be productive, with moderate winds from the East, a light rain, and fog a few miles distant (with the potential for fallout conditions), but numbers never materialized. First couple hours were decent, with Eastward movement among horned grebes, long-tails, red-breasted mergs, and common loons, but as the morning wore on the wind increased and the rain fell steadier, to the point that even the powerfully-flying large loons were struggling Eastward, with nearly all just above the water’s surface, and a few ditching out. Few other species besides.

eBird list: https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S55633687

Evening cold and clammy, with a shifting fog and strong, cold winds. Consequently, the marshes were pretty quiet. April (or maybe even March) is not giving up without a fight. Usual peenting woodcock and calling pied-billeds.

eBird list: https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S55655480