Spring Waterbird Count: Week 8

Although waterbird diversity had declined, the final days of the count were considerably productive. Staging Long-tailed Ducks still number in the thousands through mid-May. Red-breasted and Common Merganser reside in small flocks along the shorelines of the upper Great Lakes, beginning to pair up for the nesting season. 

Common Terns – Graham Point 05/12/2023

During this last week, Red-throated Loons have been observed daily. This species is a late-season migrants through the Straits. An impressive flock of 9 individuals was observed from McGulpin Point on 05/15/2023.

Migration this spring continues to bring an excellent variety of gulls to the Straits. A striking adult Little Gull allowed for one last rush of excitement on the final day of the count. This bird was spotted from Graham Point, heading Northeast alone. A California Gull was also spotted by a visiting birder on 05/18/2023, resting at Pointe LaBarbe among other gulls. 

Little Gull – Graham Point 05/20/2023

Shorebirds have returned in mass and will reach their peak migration in the upcoming weeks. Flocks of Dunlin, Least Sandpiper, and Ruddy Turnstone have been spotted in the last few days of the count. 

Other notable sightings from this week include a second female Harlequin Duck, headed Northeast past Graham Point on 05/14/2023, within a small flock of Common Goldeneye. 

Bonaparte’s Gull – Graham Point 05/12/2023

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