North Wind Brings Birds

After the rain died down, today was an excellent day at the waterbird count.  Many Loons moved east today, including multiple Red-throated Loons.  There was also a nice diversity of Duck species to make things interesting.  The best part of the day had to be the hundreds of Redheads that flew to the east.  You may be familiar with the fact that Redheads use the Straits Area in the fall as a staging area for their southern migration.  Sometimes tens of thousands of them can be seen.  Next time you drive across the Mackinac Bridge in October be sure to look at the water.  These large rafts of Redheads look like floating islands in the water.  They tend to be closer to the north end of the bridge.  Today seemed to be the first big push of these ducks into the area.

Also of note, there was almost a complete lack of Red-necked Grebes today with only two seen floating in the water just offshore.  The number of Double-crested Cormorants has also been greatly reduced over the last couple of weeks.  Most birds now are seen flying west.  Reports are that in the southern part of Lake Michigan their numbers are building.

Raptors could be seen kettling over the Upper Peninsula, but not many moved across – just a few Bald Eagles, Turkey Vultures and a single Peregrine Falcon.  Passerines were represented by six American Pipits and a single Song Sparrow that may have already been in the Lower Peninsula.

Three Monarch Butterflies were also counted flying in from the lake.

Here is the breakdown of total species followed by some photos.

Species East West
Swan sp. 1 0
Canada Goose 14 0
Double-crested Cormorant 7 73
Common Loon 35 4
Red-throated Loon 7 0
Loon sp. 1 0
Greater Scaup 23 0
Redhead 262 31
Aythya sp. 119 0
Common Goldeneye 3 0
American Wigeon 4 0
Mallard 1 0
White-winged Scoter 5 3
Merganser sp. 4 0
Green-winged Teal 1 0
Duck sp. 46 14
White-winged Scoters

White-winged Scoters

Sunrise provided some interesting colors to the west.

Sunrise provided some interesting colors to the west.

Red-throated Loons

Red-throated Loons

Common Mergansers

Common Mergansers

Common Loon

Common Loon

Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle

American Pipit

American Pipit