May 6th Waterbird Count Summary

Weather –

Low nimbo – stratus clouds hung in the straits this morning. Temperature of 6.7C with no wind or wave action. Visibility was superb. It actually tried to rain a little and it seemed quite cold. It didn’t start to warm up until 9:30AM. By the end of the count it had warmed to 12.8C.

Waterbird Notes –

A small pulse of (43) COLO went through in the morning and quickly trickled off to nothing. Big surprise of the day was (1) RTLO right in front of the gazebo. If it was a snake it would have bit me. I was actually trying to get a high count of HOGR when I saw a loon right in front of me with noticeably different plumage and structure than the COLO. The one field mark I believe is missing from most guidebooks on waterfowl ID is the huge difference in bill shape between the two. The RTLO bill is almost needle like compared to the heavy thick bill of a COLO. This bird was a juvenile and the head seemed quite squarish. Check out todays eBird link below for the photo.  Also, note that I have removed my first RTLO siting of the season from the end of April. Surprisingly it was a slow day and I believe it was due to the cold, wet weather that wasn’t forecast for the day.

Non- waterbird Notes –

Several flocks of migrants crossed the straits this morning. (24) BLJA and (24) RWBL. (2) EAME were spotted flying directly in front of the gazebo and I brushed them off as YSFL. Fortunately I had help today and I was corrected!

Wildlife-

RESQ did several scamper throughs early in the morning, apparently not happy the snack crackers were not available at dawn. It then returned to the cover of the forest behind the gazebo and began scolding me. I caved in and dug out some crackers and placed them carefully on the the bench behind where I sit. RESQ instantly appeared and picked up one. It then spun it around in its little hands and placed it carefully in its mouth. It then scampered back into the forest and either cached it or ate it in the cover of the forest.

Freighters-

H Lee White east bound at 9:21, and I missed my chance to get the high count on LTDU on this one! Endeavor east bound at 1:24.

Visitors –

A family with their daughter dropped by to see what was happening in the straits. I hope they forgive me for forgetting their names, but they are regular attendees at the MSRW Raptor Fest. Their daughter scanned the skies picking out the days SACR and GBHE while dad helped me ID the first EAME. Mom walked up the beach and helped correct my BRCR ID to BTNW. I still hear BRCR regularly since yesterday calling, but the song belongs to BTNW! I also wanted to add that it makes me happy seeing parents getting their children into birding. It seems like a rewarding way to spend time compared to all the distractions technology has made available to the youth today. Lynn Fraze stopped by at the end of the count to see how things were going at the water bird count.

Total observer hours – 8.0

Next days forecast –

Mainly sunny with a high near 55F. Winds WSW at 5-10mph.

Todays tally is posted on eBird here.

Total Species: 41

Total Count : 868