Waterbird Count, May 16

The final day of the waterbird migration season, and unfortunately it was not one to go out with a bang. The weather was relatively cold and overcast throughout the day, with moderate winds and episodes of rain in the afternoon. Today marked the first day since April 7th to have a daily count to not include a Common Loon, and the first one since April 16th to have no White-winged Scoters. If that isn’t a sign that migration is drawing to a close I don’t know what is. Although a pair of both Buffleheads and Peregrine Falcons were seen resting near McGulpin Point and moving south across the bridge respectively. Comparisons between last years season totals yielded some surprising consistencies as well as dramatic differences- for full details, refer to the soon-to-be-completed report. It has been a pleasure and honor to be the waterbird counter for the Mackinac Straits Raptor Watch, as it has allowed me the opportunity to not only incorporate my hobby into work, but meet many people with similar interests and aspirations. I’d like to thank Ed Pike for providing me the opportunity of a lifetime, as well as to the Bakers, Lawsons, Kirbys, Brickers, Grafs, and Jason Newton for sharing with me the splendor of Michigan’s wilderness and its animals. From here, I will be returning to California to work in the Sierra Nevadas for the Institute for Bird Population’s Southwestern Willow Flycatcher study. Working as a waterbird counter in Mackinac City ranks as one of the greatest experiences of my life, and I hope future waterbird counts will be even more successful.

Long-tailed Duck – 152
Bufflehead – 2
Common Goldeneye – 1
Common Merganser – 21
Red-breasted Merganser – 239
Double-crested Cormorant – 53
duck sp. – 1
Common Tern – 3

Other Species:
Great Blue Heron – 3
Turkey Vulture – 2
Bald Eagle – 1
Killdeer – 3
Peregrine Falcon – 2