Category Archives: Video

Photos From Waterbird Count

Hello all,

If you read Jason’s most recent post, then you know that I filled in for him yesterday so that he could have a well-earned rest.  He already summarized much of what happened, but I thought I would share a few photos that I got from the count yesterday.  You will notice that despite the fact we were conducting a waterbird count, many, if not most, of these photos will be of raptors and songbirds.  There is a good reason for that.  Most of the waterbirds that we count are probably a mile or more off of shore, which means they are well out of camera range.  The raptors are often times flying directly overhead, which makes them much easier to photograph.

Red-tailed Hawk 2

Red-tailed Hawk

Red-tailed Hawk 3

Red-tailed Hawk – sometimes the birds watch you too!

Red-tailed Hawk 4

Young Red-tailed Hawk

White-winged Scoters

White-winged Scoters – notice the heat distortion in the background.

Red-breasted Mergansers

Red-breated Mergansers

Pintail

Distant Northern Pintail – look closely and you can see the “pin” tail.

Pied-billed Grebe

Somewhat unusual for the location , a Pied-billed Grebe.

Common Merganser

Common Merganser – swimming just offshore.

Northern Harrier

One of a few Northern Harriers that flew to the Upper Peninsula on Sunday.

Belted Kingfisher

This Belted Kingfisher flew down the beach. Two others flew directly across to the Upper Peninsula.

Eastern Phoebe

Eastern Phoebe

And for fun, here is a video of a female Red-breasted Merganser being chased by four males.  Notice the funny head movements of the males.  This is courtship behavior.

After the count was over, Jason and I headed up to the Hawk Watch for a few minutes, where we found this rather cooperative Savannah Sparrow.

Savannah Sparrow

First Savannah Sparrow of the year.

Jason and I then made a trip to nearby Dingman Marsh to look for Ring-necked Ducks.  There were many there and we also found this Singing Pine Warbler.

Waterbirds – 11/17 – Goldeneyes!

The waterbird count on Saturday started out with a bang. I had difficulty keeping up with the number of Common Goldeneyes that were flying by. One flock even contained a Hooded Merganser. I believe this was the first Hoody I had counted during the waterbird count. By the end of the first hour the Goldeneye had slowed significantly, but Red-breasted Mergansers then took over to keep things interesting. Other notable species included Red-throated Loons. Ten of them flew by. Of the identified Loons, this meant that more Red-throated than Common were counted, although a few unidentified Loons went by as well. Here are the numbers with some photos and videos to follow.

Species East West
Common Goldeneye 12 173
Loon sp. 3 0
Hooded Mergansers 0 1
Common Loon 6 1
Red-breasted Merganser 9 66
Long-tailed Duck 2 29
Duck sp. 6 41
Mallard 2 0
Red-throated Loon 9 1
Redhead 0 10
Bufflehead 6 4
Surf/Black Scoter 0 9
White-winged Scoter 14 14
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One of a few Bald Eagles that were flying around the straits.

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A flock of Common Goldeneye.

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An early morning flock of Common Goldeneye. Even as a silhouette the identification is relatively obvious (for those with experience waterbird counting anyway).

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Red-breasted Mergansers

Quoth the Raven

Today started out overcast and very drizzly. It was very difficult keeping my optics free of water droplets that obscured my vision. However, as the day progressed, the drizzle stopped. It remained overcast, but was much easier to see. However, the waterbird flight remained slow. The most numerous species by far was Common Loons with a couple of Red-throated mixed in. The most interested flight of the day though, was the number of Common Ravens that arrived from the Upper Peninsula. They came sometimes singly, but sometimes in larger flocks. A total of fifteen were counted during the three hours of the count. The most surprising low number was that only nine Redhead were counted today. This may in part be due to the fact that the far shore was obscured by the drizzle, but even when the drizzle cleared up the flight was slow. Here is the breakdown along with a few photos.

Species East West
Double-crested Cormorant 2 12
Mallard 2 0
Common Loon 22 0
Green-winged Teal 4 0
Red-throated Loon 2 1
Redhead 9 0
White-winged Scoter 7 3
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American Pipit

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Common Loon

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Herring Gull

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Horned Grebe floating offshore

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White-crowned Sparrow