Waterbird Count, April 2

It seems that the lack of activity yesterday was a sign that there would be a lot to expect following, because today was by far the most productive and exciting day so far.  To start, I not only had Bryant Eddy to keep me company in the morning, but I was also fortunate enough to have veteran bird watcher Darrell Lawson helping me for most of the day.  Whether it was waterfowl, raptors, or non-target species, today was full of surprises.  A trio of Ring-necked Ducks stopped to rest around 9:00 AM- the same time a pair of Wood Ducks were making their way east.  The count for Mallards today was the highest it’s been all season, and there was even a pair of Snow Geese mixed in with a small group of Canada Geese heading east over St. Ignace.  The heat shimmer made definitive identification difficult, but against the bright sky, the Snow Geese blended in more readily compared to the dark silhouettes of the Canada Geese.  There were also high densities of Red-tailed Hawks, Rough-legged Hawks, Sharp-shinned Hawks, and even a lone American Kestrel heading north.  Given the weather though, this was not too surprising; there was only moderate cloud cover for the entire day, the sun was shining all day, and the wind was slow for until around 1:00 PM.  Only time will tell if continuation of this good weather will also continue to yield more good counts.

Snow Goose – 2
Canada Goose – 66
Mute Swan – 1
Wood Duck– 2
American Black Duck – 2
Mallard – 21
Redhead – 31
Ring-necked Duck – 3
Greater Scaup – 7
Long-tailed Duck – 13
Bufflehead – 1
Common Goldeneye – 9
Common Merganser – 27
Red-breasted Merganser – 288
duck sp. – 49

Other Species:
Turkey Vulture – 40
Sharp-shinned Hawk – 6
Bald Eagle – 5
Red-tailed Hawk – 43
Rough-legged Hawk – 7
Buteo sp. – 2
Sandhill Crane – 4
Killdeer – 2
American Kestrel – 1
Merlin – 1