Today was the Saturday of RaptorFest and unfortunately, Josh was feeling ill. I filled in for him at the waterbird count on what proved to be a rather slow day. The morning got off to a decent start in terms of diversity with both Red-breasted and Common Mergansers, Wood Ducks, Common Goldeneye, Long-tailed Ducks, and Common Loons. Today was the first real push of Common Loons for the season with fourteen counted. Many Red-breasted Mergansers were loafing off of shore, which provided decent viewing for our visitors. Unfortunately, the movement never really picked up. There was a steady trickle of waterbirds for the first few hours, but on two Canada Geese were counted for the entirety of the last two hours. Other than the first multi-Loon day, the first Double-crested Cormorants of the season flew by as well.
Raptor numbers were decent, but not high. There was a good showing of Turkey Vultures and Red-tailed Hawks, and an unusually high four Red-shouldered Hawks, but little else. The best raptor moment came early when a Merlin flew in and landed on top of a spruce tree a very short distance off. Leonard Graf, who was kind enough to act as a waterbird interpreter for the day so I could focus on counting, was able to get it in his scope so visitors could get great views of this little falcon.
The other highlight of the day came a short time later when a Pine Siskin landed in a tree right next to us so everyone was able to get really good looks at it as well.
You can find the complete list of birds for the count at http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S35802699
And here are a few photos from today.