A Fast Start, but…

Today started out with a bang.  When I first got out of the car there were three Gadwall flying by.  A quick scan revealed another flock of five Red-necked Grebes.  Within another few minutes two Green-winged Teal flew by and more Red-necked Grebes.  I got pretty excited and thought that we might finally be in for a big flight.  Well, by the end of the first hour things has died down considerably.  It was foggy, and despite promises from weather forecasters that the fog would break in the early morning, it stuck around until I left around 10:30.  We did see our first Redheads of the count today and many more Sharp-shinned Hawks flew over, some even before it warmed up.  Overall though, the day never really got going the way that I had hoped, but there was a big push of Common Loons in the last hour.  Today the Loons were almost all headed east.  We are still trying to see if there is a pattern to their movement but so far it is not obvious.  One thing that has been obvious though is that Loons do not like to cross the Mackinac Bridge.  With almost every Loon that we have seen flying east it would turn south once it approached the bridge and appeared to take a route leading it to the mainland.  We have also noted that both Horned and Red-necked Grebes seem to avoid flying under the bridge.  We’re not sure what it is about the bridge that they don’t like, but there is definitely a patterned being followed.

In addition to birds, four more Monarch Butterflies came off the lake.

Thank you to Ed Pike for joining me for the count today.

Here are the final numbers from today with some more pictures.

Species East West
Gadwall 2 3
Red-necked Grebe 0 32
Green-winged Teal 0 2
Redhead 0 2
Common Loon 12 1
Mallard 1 0
American-Crow---Mackinaw-City,-MI---9-6-2015---Web

This American Crow came down to the shore to pay us a visit.

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This Common Merganser was fleeing from a paddle-boarder.

Common-Merganser---Mackinaw-City,-MI---9-6-2015---Web

My flock of Common Mergansers continues to keep me company in the mornings.

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This Great Blue Heron flew by early in the morning.

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Despite the fog, there was plenty of color at sunrise.

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One of the Monarchs that flew in off the lake landed on the nearby Spotted Jewelweed for a few minutes.

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This Ring-billed Gull flew down the beach.