May 5th Waterbird Count Summary

Weather –

A little haze to the start of the morning and a temperature of 5C. 12-19kph winds out of the north west.  Visibility to both the east and the west was severely limited to 8k on the east and less than 5k on the west. Winds were out of the west in the afternoon 20-28kph. The visibility had improved greatly but the heat shimmer was apparent.

Waterbird Notes –

(246) COLO continued through the straits today in a westerly direction. Today’s flight was different than Thursdays in that the birds were predominantly a steady trickle throughout the day versus the first hour after dawn. The busiest hours were 6:00AM (42), 7:00AM (69) and 8:00AM (56). (33) HOGR were the high count of loafing birds in the 9:00AM hour. (2) TRUS crossed high and moving north. It has been a long time since I had seen any swans.

Non- waterbird Notes –

Big surprise for the day was (2) WFIB winging their way south. I noted them as two black birds off over the north side of the straits coming almost directly at me. They seemed like crows at a distance, but their flight style and spacing was definitively un – crow like. As they got to the middle of the straits they swung a little west of me and a long down curved bill came into view. I knew it was an ibis instantly as they are quite common back home in the west. The two birds ended up flying just to the west of me less than .25 mile. I could make out the glossy sheen on the feathers and very long bright red legs dragging behind them. I was surprised to see it was a rarity here in MI and was happy I payed attention to every detail as without the leg color it may have been hard to make the call between a GLIB and a WFIB.

Several resident raptors were seen moving south across the straits as well. A little before noon (2) NOHA led the flight south. Shortly after (3) SSHA were seen lazily flying across the straits near the bridge, even taking time to swing around in a few places. The first (1) COHA nearly slipped by undetected just to the west of me. I caught it coming ashore out of the corner of my eye, long, rounded and stretched out tail with a large head jutting well forward of the wings.

The first BTNW (1) of the season was heard singing frequently today. I wasn’t able to clinch the ID without the help of local birders the following day, but fortunately I took good notes.


RESQ and (1) BLSQ.


Algoma Sault east bound at 9:20.

Visitors –

Ed Pike dropped by to pick up some paperwork.

Total observer hours – 8.0

Next days forecast –

Cloudy skies early will become partly cloudy later in the day. High 53F. Winds ENE at 5-10mph.

Todays tally is posted on eBird here.

Total Species: 45

Total Count : 956

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