Exciting Day at McGulpin Point

October 25th was the coldest day of the count that I’ve experienced thus far. I had steady 25mph winds from the northeast and an overcast of clouds for the entire day making for a chilly day. Thanks Lorri for the coffee and treats!!! Overall waterbird activity was quite light excepted for a few hundred long-tailed ducks moving through. In the morning I was sitting in my chair in a spot sheltered from the wind along the tree line beneath some spruce and I heard some chirps of what I thought sounded like crossbills. From the parking lot at McGulpin Point, I was able to see a female White-winged crossbill feeding on some spruce cones with her characteristic crossed bill, it was the first time I was able to see their uniquely evolved bill in action, White-winged Crossbill is also a lifer for me! An hour or so later the pair of females flew down to the water where I was able to even better views and photos.

A little while later I saw a Bald Eagle swooping at something floating in the water not too far offshore. It drifted towards the shore and washed up almost directly in front of me! I initially thought it was an immature Red-shouldered Hawk but after posting photos on iNaturalist I was corrected that it was actually a Northern Harrier. Considering it was a fresh death I called Tip of the Mit Watershed Council since I’ve talked to them before when I found the dead cormorant and they said to bring it in and they’d give it to DCNR for testing. Hopefully, it was a natural death not from pesticide poisoning or something else.

Towards the end of the day I was delighted by a male dark morph Rough-legged Hawk that was flying low over the water and flew directly over me and made eye contact! Great views!

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