Waterbird Count, May 13

The Global Big Day for 2017 has finally arrived, and the members of the Mackinaw Straits Raptor Watch have all chipped in to document as many species as possible for this “ornithological holiday”.  The waterbird count had some impressive contributions for the cumulative list today, including over two thousand Long-tailed Ducks, and more than a dozen Common Goldeneyes moving west- a respectable number for May.  The loons today also seemed to make a comeback from a lone individual to several pairs out on the lake.  Though there were no species of particular interest or rarity, the total counts were still high, and any data is good data- especially when there are other people also contributing elsewhere.  Adding to the high waterbird counts was the substantial increase in flying insect activity around the lake.  The air was so thick with midges it felt as if I was walking in rain, and the insects consistently tried to find their way into my eyes, nose and mouth.  I myself have been in many environments where local biting and flying insects are labeled as a major hindrance, but nothing I’ve experienced before can even begin to compare to today.

Canada Goose – 6
Greater/Lesser Scaup – 1
White-winged Scoter – 5
Long-tailed Duck – 2250
Common Merganser – 15
Red-breasted Merganser – 375
Common Loon – 7
Double-crested Cormorant – 75
duck sp. – 5
Common Tern – 9

Other Species:
Great Blue Heron – 1
Turkey Vulture – 6
Bald Eagle – 2
Buteo sp. – 2
Merlin – 1