Waterbird Count, September 21

Just a day after my best ever duck flight I had an even better duck flight. Right at sunrise, huge flocks of ducks were in the air above St Ignace flying west. They were so distant they were almost not visible at 20x with my scope. I estimated around 830 ducks in these flocks. During the second hour, a cloud of ducks rose up off the water on the east side of the Mackinac Bridge and quickly settled back down. I roughly estimated 500 ducks, but it could have potentially been many more. Outside of unidentified ducks, it was a nice day of movement with good variety. I was happy to have Louie Dombroski visit the count for several hours and assist in identifying some of the distant flocks. Aside from ducks, there was a large movement of Canada Geese, resulting in my best day ever with 436 birds headed south. It was also an excellent day of raptor migration. I had my best day of Bald Eagles with 44 birds. I also topped my highest count of Sharp-shinned Hawks by 1. Last but not least, it was also by far the best Monarch migration I’ve seen yet, with 108 butterflies crossing the Straits.

Canada Goose – 436
Gadwall – 3
American Wigeon – 3
teal sp. – 1
Redhead – 98
Greater Scaup – 33
Greater/Lesser Scaup – 9
White-winged Scoter – 33
Common Merganser – 7
Red-breasted Merganser – 9
duck sp. – 1524
Red-throated Loon – 1
Common Loon – 17
Horned Grebe – 5
Red-necked Grebe – 3
Double-crested Cormorant – 42
Bonaparte’s Gull – 5

Turkey Vulture – 35
Northern Harrier – 1
Sharp-shinned Hawk – 22
Sharp-shinned/Cooper’s Hawk – 1
Northern Goshawk – 1
Accipiter sp. – 2
Bald Eagle – 44
Broad-winged Hawk – 14
Red-tailed Hawk – 7
American Kestrel – 1
Peregrine Falcon – 1

Sandhill Crane – 8
Sanderling – 3

Monarch – 108