Waterbird Count, October 29

It seemed like today might be another slow day, and though it was, there was a major highlight: a new migrant gull graced McGulpin Point for the season — a juvenile Black-legged Kittiwake. Best of all, I managed some photos this time. I have been hoping a Sabine’s Gull would pass by McGulpin this fall, but I can’t complain with this consolation. Juvenile Black-legged Kittiwakes are among my favorite gulls in terms of plumage. Interestingly, and possibly coincidentally, the Black-legged Kittiwake that I saw on the spring count was also seen on a day of strong NW winds. Both kittiwakes were seen fairly close to shore and flying west. Aside from this excellent species, it was a pretty low key day. I had all three scoter species and four species of gull — probably the first time I’ve managed more than three at McGulpin. A large cloud of ducks seemingly flew in from southeast of the Mackinac Bridge and landed in the typical Redhead raft area during the first hour. I was hoping the strong NW winds would push some raptors over, but I only had a few, including a Northern Harrier flying north.

Redhead – 26
Surf Scoter – 1
White-winged Scoter – 34
Black Scoter – 6
Long-tailed Duck – 276
Common Merganser – 2
Red-breasted Merganser – 53
duck sp. – 856 (~840 landed east of the bridge)
Common Loon – 21
Horned Grebe – 1
Red-necked Grebe – 2
Double-crested Cormorant – 4
Black-legged Kittiwake – 1
Bonaparte’s Gull – 4

Northern Harrier – 1
Bald Eagle – 5
Red-tailed Hawk – 1

Juvenile Black-legged Kittiwake, 10/29/16
Juvenile Black-legged Kittiwake, 10/29/16

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