Category Archives: Waterbird Count 2016

Waterbird Count, April 22

Not a bad day for waterbird migration. Many flocks were flying much higher than usual. The majority of Red-breasted Mergansers I saw today appeared to be migrating, which is interesting because as of late they had almost all been loafers. I had a new species for the season with a flock of 13 Gadwall. Quite a few Bonaparte’s Gulls passed by heading west, unfortunately I couldn’t find yesterday’s Little Gull among them. Very few raptors passed over me today.

Canada Goose – 4
Gadwall – 13
Mallard – 9
Northern Shoveler – 3
Northern Pintail – 2
Green-winged Teal – 1
Redhead – 51
Greater Scaup – 39
White-winged Scoter – 27
Long-tailed Duck – 164
Bufflehead – 6
Common Goldeneye – 2
Common Merganser – 27
Red-breasted Merganser – 143
Unidentified duck sp. – 58
Common Loon – 18
Red-necked Grebe – 1
Double-Crested Cormorant – 41
Great Blue Heron – 2
Bonaparte’s Gull – 43

Others:
Turkey Vulture – 9
Northern Harrier – 3
Bald Eagle – 3
Sandhill Crane – 16

Waterbird Count, April 21

I had a decent variety of species in spite of persistent rain and heavy fog. I ended the count about an hour and a half early in hopes of seeing the Little Gull that Ed, Steve, the Kirbys, and others had found in St Ignace. We searched thoroughly but could not relocate it.

At home, Kevin and I had two Chipping Sparrows at our feeders — our first of the year.

Wood Duck – 1
Mallard – 7
White-winged Scoter – 7
Long-tailed Duck – 205
Bufflehead – 16
Common Goldeneye – 6
Common Merganser – 10
Red-breasted Merganser – 58
Unidentified duck sp. – 23
Common Loon – 5
Red-necked Grebe – 1
Double-Crested Cormorant – 10

Others:
Northern Harrier – 1

Waterbird Count, April 20

Another new species for the season today — a male Blue-winged Teal. The male Black Scoter was still around today, again loafing with Red-breasted Mergansers. Hawks were sparse, I had more going south than going north.

Canada Goose – 11
Wood Duck – 1
Mallard – 9
Blue-winged Teal – 1
Redhead – 6
Greater/Lesser Scaup – 13
White-winged Scoter – 23
Black Scoter – 1
Long-tailed Duck – 591
Common Goldeneye – 3
Common Merganser – 12
Red-breasted Merganser – 64
Unidentified duck sp. – 2
Common Loon – 28
Double-Crested Cormorant – 55
Great Blue Heron – 2

Others:
Turkey Vulture – 8
Northern Harrier – 1
Sharp-shinned Hawk – 3
Bald Eagle – 3
Red-tailed Hawk – 1
Rough-legged Hawk – 1
Merlin – 1
Sandhill Crane – 3

Waterbird Count, April 19

Pretty average day for waterbirds, but I did have a new species for the season — a male Black Scoter. He was flying and foraging with Red-breasted Mergansers. The best bird of the day was not at the waterbird count but at the hawk watch, when the dark morph Swainson’s Hawk from April 17 made another appearance and I was able to see it this time! I also had a nice variety of hawks migrating over me. The down side is that they were quite high up today.

Canada Goose – 113
Wood Duck – 1
Greater Scaup – 2
Lesser Scaup – 3
Greater/Lesser Scaup – 2
White-winged Scoter – 11
Black Scoter – 1
Long-tailed Duck – 424
Common Merganser – 24
Red-breasted Merganser – 98
Unidentified duck sp. – 4
Common Loon – 11
Double-Crested Cormorant – 46

Others:
Turkey Vulture – 75
Osprey – 3
Northern Harrier – 1
Sharp-shinned Hawk – 8
Cooper’s Hawk – 1
Bald Eagle – 5
Red-shouldered Hawk – 1
Broad-winged Hawk – 51
Red-tailed Hawk – 34
Merlin – 1
Sandhill Crane – 15

Waterbird Count, April 18

Yesterday Darrell covered for me giving me a chance to sleep in a little, but I joined him for around 4 hours. I don’t have the full report, but we had good numbers of Common Loons (19 while I was there), Turkey Vultures, and most interestingly a Pied-billed Grebe fairly close to shore. There were more Long-tailed Ducks than there had been (at least 310), and many were vocalizing. Thanks to the calm water and wind, we also got to hear Red-breasted Mergansers vocalizing while displaying. Weather-wise, it was very nice.

Today was pretty nice as well, but with stronger winds from the west that were sometimes quite cold. Raptor numbers were down, probably in part due to the westerly winds. There was heavy heat shimmer, probably the worst I’ve had yet, that reduced visibility. Common Loons numbers continue to rise and there were way more Long-tailed Ducks resting in the straits. I also had a new species for the season with a flock of 13 Bonaparte’s Gulls that were flying west, close to shore.

Canada Goose – 5
Mallard – 4
Green-winged Teal – 3
Redhead – 3
Greater Scaup – 20
White-winged Scoter – 14
Long-tailed Duck – 670
Bufflehead – 3
Common Merganser – 17
Red-breasted Merganser – 119
Unidentified duck sp. – 77
Common Loon – 29
Horned Grebe – 1
Double-Crested Cormorant – 67
Great Blue Heron – 2
Bonaparte’s Gull – 13

Others:
Turkey Vulture – 32
Sharp-shinned Hawk – 5
Bald Eagle – 3
Red-tailed Hawk – 6
Sandhill Crane – 35

Waterbird Count, April 15 & 16

Didn’t get a chance to post yesterday but I finally made it out to owl banding, which was great — thanks for having us all Emily and Kim! I expected to have to leave before they caught anything but I was grateful that we got lucky with two saw-whets so early.

Loons have been steadily increasing and Long-tailed Ducks have been dwindling. Yesterday I had my first-of-the-year Eastern Phoebe and Osprey. Today I had two new species for this season’s count — Northern Shoveler and Red-throated Loon! I’ve been enjoying the east winds pushing many of the raptors over my head.

April 15
Canada Goose – 31
Trumpeter/Tundra Swan – 6
Mallard – 4
Northern Pintail – 16
Redhead – 8
Greater/Lesser Scaup – 15
Unidentified Aythya sp. 1
White-winged Scoter – 37
Long-tailed Duck – 194
Bufflehead – 2
Common Goldeneye – 4
Common Merganser – 30
Red-breasted Merganser – 120
Unidentified duck sp. – 79
Common Loon – 10
Double-Crested Cormorant – 34
Great Blue Heron – 2

Others:
Turkey Vulture – 88
Osprey – 2
Northern Harrier – 1
Sharp-shinned Hawk – 13
Cooper’s Hawk – 3
Bald Eagle – 13
Red-shouldered Hawk – 3
Red-tailed Hawk – 54 (at least one Western dark morph)
Rough-legged Hawk – 5
Sandhill Crane – 45
American Kestrel – 2
Merlin – 2

April 16
Canada Goose – 107
Wood Duck – 2
Mallard – 4
Northern Shoveler- 4
Green-winged Teal – 17
Redhead – 6
Greater Scaup – 10
White-winged Scoter – 56
Long-tailed Duck – 115
Common Goldeneye – 1
Common Merganser – 35
Red-breasted Merganser – 120
Unidentified duck sp. – 44
Red-throated Loon – 1
Common Loon – 17
Double-Crested Cormorant – 41
Great Blue Heron – 4

Others:
Turkey Vulture – 107
Golden Eagle – 1
Northern Harrier – 1
Sharp-shinned Hawk – 21
Cooper’s Hawk – 5
Bald Eagle – 7
Red-tailed Hawk – 34 (one Western dark morph and at least one Northern)
Rough-legged Hawk – 8
Sandhill Crane – 88
American Kestrel – 2
Merlin – 1

Waterbird Count, April 14

Three new species for the season and good numbers today as well. New additions were Northern Pintail, Green-winged Teal, and Lesser Scaup. I almost had another new species but couldn’t resolve a group of 16 Trumpeter/Tundra Swans that were just too far out on the water. Among non-waterbirds, new for the year was a Barn Swallow flying east along the beach.

Canada Goose – 148
Trumpeter/Tundra Swan – 16
Unidentified swan sp. – 3
Wood Duck – 1
Mallard – 19
Northern Pintail – 3
Green-winged Teal – 4
Redhead – 237
Greater Scaup – 2
Lesser Scaup – 2
White-winged Scoter – 25
Long-tailed Duck – 178
Common Merganser – 29
Red-breasted Merganser – 96
Unidentified duck sp. – 40
Common Loon – 5
Red-necked Grebe – 2
Double-crested Cormorant – 31

Others:
Turkey Vulture – 111
Northern Harrier – 1
Sharp-shinned Hawk – 1
Bald Eagle – 1
Red-tailed Hawk – 49
Rough-legged Hawk – 2
Sandhill Crane – 1
Snowy Owl – 1

Waterbird Count, April 13

Not quite the day that the hawk watch had, but I had decent numbers of waterbirds. The weather looks to be much warmer for the foreseeable future so I’m hoping for more and more movement.

Canada Goose – 73
Mallard – 8
Redhead – 194
Greater Scaup – 2
White-winged Scoter – 80
Unidentified scoter sp. – 31 (probably all White-winged)
Long-tailed Duck – 470
Common Goldeneye – 9
Hooded Merganser – 2
Common Merganser – 10
Red-breasted Merganser – 104
Unidentified duck sp. – 18
Common Loon – 4
Red-necked Grebe – 1
Double-crested Cormorant – 5

Otheres:
Turkey Vulture – 166
Northern Harrier – 1
Sharp-shinned Hawk – 1
Bald Eagle – 14
Red-tailed Hawk – 134
Rough-legged Hawk – 2
Merlin – 1

Waterbird Count, April 12 — Black-legged Kittiwake!

A fairly slow day until the last 10 minutes when I saw a smaller gull that I thought was going to be the first Bonaparte’s of the season. As it got closer, I noticed the black collar on its nape and the bold, black M pattern on its wings, which didn’t have black trailing edges. It was in fact a first cycle BLACK-LEGGED KITTIWAKE. I was able to get very good views as it gradually flew northwest into a strong headwind across the straits, landing several times on the water. I called Steve Baker to come and try to photograph it, but it was pretty distant by the time he arrived, though he may have got some identifiable shots. A very exciting and unexpected bird!

Aside from that, it was business as usual. Many Turkey Vultures were on the move.

Redhead – 5
White-winged Scoter – 16
Long-tailed Duck – 419
Common Goldeneye – 4
Common Merganser – 3
Red-breasted Merganser – 99
Unidentified duck sp. – 38
Horned Grebe – 1
Double-crested Cormorant – 5
Black-legged Kittiwake – 1

Others:
Turkey Vulture – 140
Bald Eagle – 6
Red-tailed Hawk – 1

Waterbird Count, April 11

Today was quite active for a change. The first two hours had so much movement in both directions it was stressful to keep up. Aside from heavy fog at sunrise, visibility was excellent. The wind was consistently strong from the west, but it was still pretty nice out. And to top it off, I had a new arrival — four Double-crested Cormorants.

Canada Goose – 2
Mallard – 10
Redhead – 62
White-winged Scoter – 34
Long-tailed Duck – 678
Bufflehead – 6
Common Goldeneye – 27
Common Merganser – 14
Red-breasted Merganser – 206
Common/Red-breasted Merganser – 1
Unidentified duck sp. – 33
Common Loon – 3
Double-crested Cormorant – 4
Great Blue Heron – 1

Others:
Turkey Vulture – 48
Bald Eagle – 9