Waterbird Count, May 1

The first waterbird count of May 2017 had a disappointing start due to bad weather, but it still managed to finish well.  The first four hours were drenched in rain with easterly winds averaging eighteen miles per hour.  From 8:40 AM to 9:15 AM, there was thunder and lightning to top off the heavy rain, wind, and fog.  It was not until about 9:30 AM when the visibility exceeded one mile, but the maximum visibility today only peaked out at five miles at approximately 10:30 AM.  For most of the day, the Upper Peninsula remained hidden under a wall of fog and/or rain, thereby concealing an unknown number of waterbirds that could have been loafing or flying.  By 10:30 AM however, as the visibility increased, so did the waterbird sightings, including an adult male Blue-winged Teal.  It seemed for the most part that today would be yet another day with low loon counts, but near the end of the seventh hour, two separate groups of eight and eleven individuals respectively made their way west through the fog bank.  Although the winds did not drop below fifteen miles per hour all day, at 1:20 PM, the waves had been reduced from four feet to one foot high, and it felt as though the winds were shifting directions.  The only raptor seen today was a lone Turkey Vulture circling McGulpin Point in the final hours, though this is not surprising given the consistent bad weather.

Blue-winged Teal – 1
White-winged Scoter – 6
Long-tailed Duck – 103
Common Merganser – 5
Red-breasted Merganser – 121
Common Loon – 24
Horned Grebe – 2
Red-necked Grebe – 1
Double-crested Cormorant – 19
duck sp. – 4

Other Species:
Turkey Vulture – 1

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