Waterbird Count, May 10

It took a long day of staring out on the straits, but today’s results were well worth the eye strain.  The weather was relatively benign, with wind speeds not exceeding ten miles per hour, and the temperature rising throughout the day.  It was easier to spot waterbirds in the morning due to the calmer waters, and spread within the first four hours to increase the diversity were Buffleheads, a Red-necked Grebe, and even a Trumpeter Swan heading south.  Right around noon is when the sky began to cloud over again, and it was around this time the first Sterna tern of the season was seen.  Unfortunately, due to the poor light, and self-doubt on distinguishing Forster’s from Common Terns, the species was not identified.  Almost immediately following this sighting was a flock of over fifty Bonaparte’s Gulls swerving low and in unison over the straits as they made their way west.  There was even a flock of perhaps two hundred Blue Jays circling McGulpin Point throughout the day.  In addition to the birds, the insects were out in force at McGulpin Point.  Swarms of midges and other flying insects were buzzing around my work space and even into my eyes and nose throughout the day.  As summer continues to grip the straits, I’m hopeful it will also bring more new visitors to the waters surrounding McGulpin Point.

Canada Goose – 4
Trumpeter Swan – 1
White-winged Scoter – 12
Long-tailed Duck – 566
Bufflehead – 7
Common Merganser – 6
Red-breasted Merganser – 320
Common Loon – 6
Red-necked Grebe – 1
Double-crested Cormorant – 97
duck sp. – 19
Bonaparte’s Gull – 53
Common/Forster’s Tern – 1

Other Species:
Great Blue Heron – 1
Turkey Vulture – 7
Sharp-shinned Hawk – 2
Northern Harrier – 1
Bald Eagle – 4
Broad-winged Hawk – 2
Red-shouldered Hawk – 1
Red-tailed Hawk – 1
Buteo sp. – 2
Sandhill Crane – 1