Temperatures started off just above freezing this morning. Light snow began to fall shortly after sunrise and picked up by 8:30. For the next two hours snow was falling heavily at times, limiting visibility to less than 500 meters off of McGulpin Point. By 11:30 the winds had picked up out of the north west and the skies began to clear. Visibility was still limited to the north as a haze blanketed the north shore. The barometric pressure rose slightly throughout the day. By the end of the count it was fairly nice weather with a temperature of 4C.
Waterbird Notes –
Although the morning started off slow, things began to pick up as the snow moved out of the straits. The exception would be a lone Snow Goose / Ross’s Goose Hybrid winging its way back south at dawn. That doesn’t bode well for the forecast of the arrival of spring to the straits. Ed put me onto a flock of NOPI at a long distance ID out over the shipping channel. It was nice to pick up the first of these elegant birds for the season. The LTDU continue to be out in the shipping channel in good numbers leading the flight again today at 149 individuals.
Non- waterbird Notes –
If I had blinked I would have missed a lone Merlin clearing the ice wall to the west of the gazebo. The bird appeared out of nowhere and was gone in an instant, possibly starlings at Darrow’s was on the lunch menu today. 57 TUVU were spotted throughout the latter half of the count today. My favorite non – waterbird observation of the day today was the first Sharp-shinned Hawk of the season flying low directly over the gazebo. Flap, flap glide. Nothing like seeing a long distance migrant take on the straits so confidently and with elegance. It was special to see this adult bird with Ed.
Algoma Innovator east bound at 1:00PM.
Lynn braved the snowy conditions in the morning. She took a break and brought me back a wonderful warm chai tea! Ed Pike visited towards the end of the day pointing out a small group of NOPI that would have slipped by undetected. I was picking up some half and half the other day and noticed Ed and I are helping promote the St. Ignace News. Check out the photo below.
Total observer hours – 8.0
Next days forecast –
Snow before 9am, then rain, possibly mixed with freezing rain between 9am and 10am, then rain after 10am. High near 39. East wind around 15 mph, with gusts as high as 25 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100%. Little or no ice accumulation expected. New snow accumulation of less than a half inch possible.
Todays tally is posted on eBird here.