May 1st Waterbird Count Summary

Weather –

Warm start to the morning with a temperature of 58F. The heat shimmer was already an issue at dawn. The wind picked up gradually, which blew in some more ice to an almost ice free McGulpin Point. Within a matter of hours the ice drifted into the shallows and to the east of the gazebo. This closing off of the near shore waters and significant heat shimmer made counting near impossible.

Waterbird Notes –

(5) NOSH moved through to the west. (17) COLO moved out of the straits right at dawn. I have no doubt an equal if not larger number slipped by undetected in the heat shimmer. (89) DCCO were spotted today as well. (10) BOGU were seen flying in formation together.

Non- waterbird Notes –

(2) SSHA were seen, although neither appeared to be in a hurry to cross the straits. Several large mixed flocks of passerines crossed early in the count. (1) SOSP resident behind the gazebo spiced up the slow day by belting out some songs. (1) RBNU was heard for the first time since before the last snow storms.


RESQ was detected hauling peanut butter crackers off of the bench behind me. Later a lone beaver migrated through from east to west. It stopped to taste test some of the shrubs growing in front of the gazebo. The shrubs must not have been to its liking as it moved west. The first Dragonfly of the season was seen flying west through the straits.



Visitors –

Lynn Walters- Fraze and Gretchen came down to take photographs. USCG came by on a foot patrol and one of the officers let me know voluntarily that there had been no reports made to USCG of impacted wildlife from the recent spill. I responded that I had made a report to which he then stated someone had called in an odd duck that was eventually recovered by USDA. A necropsy was done on the bird and it was determined it died of old age. As such both this instance that was voluntarily shared with me and what I reported would contradict his original statement that no reports had been made of impacted wildlife as someone notified the USDA of the duck. I then asked what species of duck it was but the USCG didn’t know. I am entering the 3rd week of non-stop pumping going on .25 miles to the west of me. There have been a half day here or there where the pumps haven’t been running for part of an afternoon. For the most part the pumps have been running non- stop close by. To put the pump noise into perspective I am able to hear the pumps all the way back to the west at Wilderness State Park. Today a new noise of pressure being released from something was creating a loud whistling noise. This noise was prevalent from shortly after dawn until about noon when the pumps shut off again. I noticed once this noise started to occur all of the waterbirds making use of the McGulpin Point area had left. As such I spent the rest of the afternoon counting DCCO and RBME. McGulpin Point and the straits have seen lots of plane, helicopter, boat, diver, ROV and drone activity since April 1st. As such I would imagine there is probably better areas for migrants to stage and rest. I certainly couldn’t rest with the sound of the pumps or whistling that was going on today.

Total observer hours – 7.75

Next days forecast –

Showers and possibly a thunderstorm before 11am, then showers between 11am and 2pm, then a chance of showers and thunderstorms after 2pm. High near 59. Breezy, with a south wind 10 to 15 mph becoming southwest 15 to 20 mph in the morning. Chance of precipitation is 80%.

Todays tally is posted on eBird here.

Total Species: 37

Total Count : 419