Waterbird Count, April 15

Yet another day of moderate rain and thick fog, but despite this inhibitor, there was a high- if not the highest so far- diversity of waterbirds moving through the straits today.  In addition to the common waterfowl, there were a substantial number of less common migrants like Horned Grebes and Buffleheads, as well as a good assortment of dabbling ducks, including the first American Wigeons for the season.  Though they are not found in substantially high numbers here, I recognized that rubber ducky-like call even through the dense fog.  Once again, no loons today were seen in flight, but I was lucky enough to see a pair of them doing a courtship display, as well as performing their trademark wails and yodels.  This marks the first time I’ve ever heard a loon wail in the wild, and now I can fully appreciate and understand why this beautiful yet eerie sound is commonly associated with northern lakes blanketed in mist.

Canada Goose – 2
Wood Duck – 2
Gadwall – 1
American Wigeon – 7
Mallard – 3
Northern Shoveler – 3
Green-winged Teal – 1
Redhead – 23
Greater Scaup – 3
Aythya sp. – 8
White-winged Scoter – 80
Long-tailed Duck – 67
Bufflehead – 12
Common Goldeneye – 4
Common Merganser – 29
Red-breasted Merganser – 88
Common Loon – 4
Horned Grebe – 6
Red-necked Grebe – 1
Double-crested Cormorant – 11
duck sp. – 37

Other Species:
Osprey – 1
Accipiter sp. – 1
Northern Harrier – 5
Merlin – 1