Waterbird Count, April 21

With an ambient temperature of 38°F, westerly winds increasing by the hour, and intermittent rain, the first four hours were definitely the roughest.  However, by 11:00 AM the temperature started to climb, the rain subsided, and there were breaks in the cloud cover over the Upper Peninsula from 11:00-11:30 AM.  There was a brief break in the cloud cover at McGulpin Point at 12:20 PM, and by 1:00 PM the sky began to open up and illuminate the straits. The count also had two seasonal firsts today:  two Caspian Terns and one Great Egret.  The terns were seen during the third and sixth hours respectively, and although there’s a possibility that it was the same individual- since they were both recorded flying in opposite directions- the time lapse between the sightings makes it unlikely.  The Great Egret was spotted landing at Point La Barbe near the gull and cormorant colony at approximately 1:00 PM.  Additionally, at about 12:30 PM today, I received a visit from Joe VanderMeulen from Nature Change requesting an interview regarding the work I’m doing, what brought me to the MSRW, and where I see myself going.  Kathy Bricker also stopped by to participate in the scheduled interview, and by the time we had finished, the sunlight was at full strength.  To look out on Lake Michigan and see nothing but rolling waves and sunlight bouncing off deep blue water is the closest I’ve felt to home since being here.

White-winged Scoter – 32
Long-tailed Duck – 124
Bufflehead – 5
Common Goldeneye – 9
Common Merganser – 8
Red-breasted Merganser – 142
Common Loon – 41
Horned Grebe – 9
Double-crested Cormorant – 33
duck sp. – 10
Great Egret – 1
Caspian Tern – 2

Other Species:
Great Blue Heron – 2
Turkey Vulture – 7
Northern Harrier – 1
Bald Eagle – 5
Red-tailed Hawk – 7
Buteo sp. – 1