Category Archives: 2016

Owl Banding 11/03/16

Point LaBarbe, St. Ignace, MI
Night of November 3rd, 2016

Unfavorable weather conditions over The Straits made for another slow night of banding with little migration movement. Winds were mostly calm at the banding site but wave noise was consistent all night, leading me think it would not be a good night to cross. We caught a total of 5 new Saw-whets last night, all of which were hatch year birds, 4 of the birds were female and 1 was unknown.

Waterbird Count, November 3

I’m grateful that the nice weather has continued and looks like it will continue through the end of the count. It’s possible that this weather could be impeding movement, but perhaps migration is just winding down. Today had a moderate amount of movement, though the majority of it was the Redheads moving from the near the bridge westward. It was my best day for Buffleheads thus far. There have been many American Goldfinches flying around Mcgulpin Point this week, and today I estimated at least 95 in one flock.

Mallard – 1
Redhead – 575
White-winged Scoter – 53
Black Scoter – 3
Long-tailed Duck – 67
Bufflehead – 62
Common Goldeneye – 19
Hooded Merganser – 2
Common Merganser – 5
Red-breasted Merganser – 19
duck sp. – 901
Red-throated Loon – 2
Common Loon – 13
loon sp. – 1
Horned Grebe – 4
Red-necked Grebe – 7
Double-crested Cormorant – 3
Bonaparte’s Gull – 2

Bald Eagle – 2
Rough-legged Hawk – 1

Rough-legged Hawk and Snow Bunting, 11/03/16

Rough-legged Hawk and Snow Bunting, 11/03/16

Owl Banding 11/02/16

Point LaBarbe, St. Ignace, MI
Night of November 2nd, 2016

A calm night, with very little wind, made for a decent night of banding. Weather conditions were great for migration and there was a nice push of birds, totaling 17 new birds caught last night. 16 of the birds caught were Saw-whet Owls and 1 of the birds was a Long-eared Owl! The Long-eared Owl was aged as a second year bird, and the sex was unknown. Of the Saw-whets caught, 12 were female (11 hatch years, and 1 after second year), 2 were male (1 hatch year, 1 after second year), and 2 were unknowns (both hatch years). On another note, we got some good news recently about some of our previously banded birds. We learned that two of our Saw-whets made it to Indiana, and were caught at a banding station at the Indiana Dunes State Park. They were banded here October 2nd and October 7th, and were recaptured on October 28th, about 3 weeks later!

Waterbird Count, November 2

With little to no wind, there was not much movement today. There were still some decent things to be seen, including, once again, all 3 mergansers, all 3 scoters, and 4 species of gulls. All morning a large group of American Goldfinches were flying around, at least 60 that I saw at once. Among them were 1 Pine Siskin and 1 Common Redpoll. The ducks east of the bridge, presumed 99% Redheads, lifted off the water and split off southward and westward, interestingly. I managed a poor photo of them.

Mute Swan – 1
Mallard – 5
Redhead – 156
Surf Scoter – 1
White-winged Scoter – 26
Black Scoter – 1
Long-tailed Duck – 94
Hooded Merganser – 1
Common Merganser – 5
Red-breasted Merganser – 14
duck sp. – 1848
Common Loon – 5
Horned Grebe – 3
Red-necked Grebe – 5
Double-crested Cormorant – 3
Bonaparte’s Gull – 2
Great Black-backed Gull – 1

Bald Eagle – 1
Red-tailed Hawk – 3
Rough-legged Hawk – 3

Red-breasted Mergansers, 11/02/16

Red-breasted Mergansers, 11/02/16

Horned Grebe, 11/02/16

Horned Grebe, 11/02/16

Ducks east of the Mackinac Bridge, 11/02/16

Ducks east of the Mackinac Bridge, 11/02/16

Owl Banding 11/01/16

Point LaBarbe, St. Ignace, MI
Night of November 1st, 2016

There were rather high winds while opening last night, but an hour into the night winds dropped from 7-13 mph to a low around 3 mph and changed direction from west to north for the rest of the night. While it was a nice and calm night with favorable winds, there was little migration movement going on. We caught 5 new Saw-whet owls. 4 were females (2 hatch years, 2 after hatch years), and 1 was an unknown sex (hatch year). The season is definitely slowing down, but we did finally pass the 500 mark on Saw-whet owls banded! The season totals are now 507 Saw-whet owls, 6 Long-eared owls, and 1 Barred owl.

Waterbird Count, November 1

What better way to ring in November than  mid-60s and a winter gull.  Today a lovely adult Iceland Gull flew by McGulpin, granting me another four gull species day (with a lone Bonaparte’s Gull). In addition, I also had all 3 merganser species and all 3 scoter species — a good day for species combos. Overall there was nice waterbird variety.

Canada Goose – 10
Gadwall – 5
Mallard – 5
Northern Pintail – 2
Redhead – 3
Greater Scaup – 2
Greater/Lesser Scaup – 3
Surf Scoter – 2
White-winged Scoter – 74
Black Scoter – 2
Surf/Black Scoter – 3
Long-tailed Duck – 175
Bufflehead – 6
Common Goldeneye – 9
Hooded Merganser – 3
Common Merganser – 8
Red-breasted Merganser – 19
duck sp. – 194
Common Loon – 5
Horned Grebe – 2
Red-necked Grebe – 3
Double-crested Cormorant – 2
Bonaparte’s Gull – 1
Iceland Gull – 1

Bald Eagle – 3

Adult Iceland Gull, 11/01/16

Adult Iceland Gull, 11/01/16

Waterbird Count, October 31

Perhaps the southerly winds are hindering waterbird movement, or maybe migration is winding down. At least the weather is pretty nice. There was a good amount of passerine activity along the beach, including 21 American Pipits, 68 Snow Buntings, and 70 American Goldfinches.

Canada Goose – 6
dabbling duck sp. – 6
Redhead – 110
White-winged Scoter – 22
Surf/Black Scoter – 4
Long-tailed Duck – 67
Bufflehead – 27
Common Goldeneye – 6
Common Merganser – 10
Red-breasted Merganser – 10
duck sp. – 438 (mostly presumed-Redheads east of the bridge)
Common Loon – 15
Horned Grebe – 2
Red-necked Grebe – 1
Double-crested Cormorant – 1
Bonaparte’s Gull – 3

Bald Eagle – 3

Immature White-crowned Sparrow, 10/31/16

Immature White-crowned Sparrow, 10/31/16

Buffleheads, 10/31/16

Buffleheads, 10/31/16

Owl Banding 10/30/16

Point LaBarbe, St. Ignace, MI
Night of October 30th, 2016

A clear and calm night made for good stargazing but again, owl movement was low. We caught a total of 9 owls, one of which was a Long-eared owl! It’s always exciting to deal with the bigger owls, but this one looked me in the face and let out the most hair-raising wail while I was untangling it from the net. I had no idea they made sounds like that since their normal call and their whole demeanor is usually pretty quiet, but when it howled at me I almost jumped out of my skin! The rest of the night was slow but steady, with 8 Saw-whets caught for the night. Of the birds netted, 7 were female (5 hatch years, and 2 after second years) and the other 1 was a male (hatch year). The Long-eared caught was aged as a hatch year bird, and its sex was unknown.

Owl Banding 10/29/16

Point LaBarbe, St. Ignace, MI
Night of October 29th, 2016

Things are definitely slowing down for the season, and the owls didn’t cooperate for the group of visitors at the station for the night. While the guests were troopers, battling the cold and checking the nets for several hours, I didn’t end up catching any birds until around 1 AM after everyone had gone home. I guess it was a good taste of what really happens at a banding station… I ended up netting 8 new birds that morning, most birds coming between 3 and 5 AM. Of the new Saw-whets banded, 6 were female (2 hatch years, 1 second year, and 3 after hatch years), and 2 unknowns (1 was a hatch year and the other was an after second year).

Waterbird Count, October 30

Despite northerly winds, it wasn’t too cold today. I had decent numbers of the usual suspects but nothing out of the ordinary. Not many raptors passed over me, but I did see a Turkey Vulture circling over the UP — getting a bit late for this species. I had a decent number of passerines flying over and around the beach, including 45 American Goldfinch, 5 Pine Siskins (most I’ve had yet this fall), and 45 American Pipits (a large number for this date). I also had a Belted Kingfisher which I hadn’t seen for weeks.

Mallard – 2
Redhead – 63
White-winged Scoter – 56
Surf/Black Scoter – 1
Long-tailed Duck – 456
Common Goldeneye – 14
Common Merganser – 7
Red-breasted Merganser – 64
duck sp. – 37
Common Loon – 6
loon sp. – 1
Horned Grebe – 3
Red-necked Grebe – 11
Double-crested Cormorant – 2

Turkey Vulture – 1
Bald Eagle – 3
Red-tailed Hawk – 5
Rough-legged Hawk – 1