As we enter the last few weeks of the count, many waterbirds have entered (or are winding down from) their peak flights. Plenty of busy counts still remain, comprised mostly of late spring migrants.
On 04/28/2023, an East wind brought a massive Broad-winged hawk flight to the Straits, but numerous waterbird species were also on the move. During this busy day, over 1100 scaup, 400+ Bonapartes Gulls, 87 White-winged Scoters, and various dabblers were observed from Graham Point. Scaup (particularly Lesser Scaup) have greatly overtaken Redhead as the dominant species of Aythya. A second cycle Lesser Black-backed Gull was also sighted on this day.
The first Red-throated Loons of the season were spotted this week! Loons have only just reached the peak of their migration, with consistent flights now occurring daily. Loons are one of the few waterbirds that will still move in numbers on a North wind.
“Dark-wing scoter” is a term used to lump the more readily confused Surf and Black Scoters. This count’s first Surf Scoters have now made an appearance. Scoter migration through the Straits is typically more diverse and numerous during the fall season.
Other notable sightings for the count this week include four American White Pelicans and an immature Northern Goshawk.