Sunday, September 16, 2007

16 September 2007


At the end of a slow day at the point with SW winds, we were thrilled when all three of the above highlights came within 30 minutes of each other!

WEATHER: Skies were clear, temperatures ranged from 8-20 Celsius, and winds were moderate out of the SW. Visibility was difficult at times due to the direct sunlight.

DUCKS & GEESE: It was a rather slow day in terms of numbers of migrating ducks. A handful of CANADA GEESE were seen in the 3rd hour in addition to AMERICAN WIGEON, MALLARD, GREEN-WINGED TEAL, and a couple REDHEAD. Low numbers of SCAUP were counted as well as a couple RED-BREASTED MERGANSERS.

LOONS & GREBES: It was relatively slow throughout the day, especially for loons. Fewer than 20 COMMON LOONS were seen and no Red-throated Loons were tallied at all. Over 180 RED-NECKED GREBES were counted in addition to a handful of HORNED GREBES. However, the "flight line" that most of the grebes took was rather far out.

SHOREBIRDS: Five species were seen: SANDERLING (15+), LESSER YELLOWLEGS (3), AMERICAN GOLDEN-PLOVER (1), and a highlight of the count, a RED-NECKED PHALAROPE. The phalarope cut over the point coming rather close to the shack (and calling), and then headed back out towards the point where it landed on the beach. We were on our way out to get a better look of the phalarope when the jaeger distracted us (see below)! We never could relocate the phalarope.

GULLS/JAEGERS: What a way to cap off a warm, quiet day of birding! After spotting a juvenile SABINE'S GULL flying towards the point, we got a closer look from the beach (see photo below). The Sabine's Gull was floating offshore with a group of Ring-billed/Herring Gulls for several minutes before it picked up, turned, and flew off to the north.

It was about 15 minutes later that the RED-NECKED PHALAROPE flew by and landed out on the beach. On our way out to the beach for the phalarope, a juvenile intermediate-morph PARASITIC JAEGER came in and harassed a HERRING GULL at close range (see photo below).

*NOTE* After the count was over, the ponds were checked for the phalarope as was the harbor. While searching the harbor, the SABINE'S GULL was seen again but this time flying south very far out.

RAPTORS: Again, it was a decent day for raptor diversity at the point. MERLIN, PEREGRINE FALCON, SHARP-SHINNED HAWK, NORTHERN GOSHAWK, NORTHERN HARRIER, RED-TAILED HAWK, and BALD EAGLE (2) were some of the noted species.

Some of the other birds seen from the waterbird shack included SWAINSON'S THRUSH, LAPLAND LONGSPUR, AMERICAN PIPIT, and CLIFF SWALLOW.

The weather forecast for tomorrow is calling for sunny skies, warm temperatures, and light-moderate winds out the south.

Lastly, I encourage folks to visit to see what is happening inland here at Whitefish Point Bird Observatory as my blog mainly covers the waterbirds!

Thanks for checking in!

Good Birding,

Cory Gregory
Waterbird Counter

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