Steady stream of loons

Today’s count at McGulpin yielded the first big push of migrating Common Loons this season, with a total of 74! A few birds were also resting and foraging, an uncommon behavior for the straits. Loons are typically a solitary migrant but will sometimes form loose “flocks”, with birds spaced several hundred meters apart high above the water. Long-tailed Duck activity has also picked up, with large flocks commuting to various foraging areas far from shore.

The large raft of Redhead on the straits has substantially thinned out, as I presume they have pushed west towards their primary breeding grounds. Red-necked Grebes continue to rest and forage, while numbers of Horned Grebe slowly climb. At Graham I also saw a small flock of Eurasian Tree Sparrows, which briefly perched in a backyard shrub before continuing north. As the name suggests, these birds are native to the Old World, but have been introduced to a small portion of the lower Midwest. However, this is not a common sighting on the UP, let alone Michigan as a whole!

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