Highlights: LONG-TAILED DUCK (8300+), OWL SP. (1), GREAT BLACK-BACKED GULL (1)
WEATHER: The most noticeable aspect of the weather today was the gale-forced wind ripping out of the north the entire day. Skies were cloudy and the temperature was constant at 7 Celsius. Visibility was limited due to the cold air over the warmer lake (with giant waves, to boot).
OVERALL MOVEMENT: The movement of Long-tailed Ducks really stole the show this morning; over 4600 were seen in less than 2 hours! Their numbers eventually thinned out to 8 birds in the last hour. It was a good flight for White-winged Scoter as well, 430 were counted. Three species of migrants were seen every hour: Red-breasted Merganser, White-winged Scoter and Long-tailed Duck.
DUCKS & GEESE: The variety today was low. Species seen today included MALLARD (15+), NORTHERN PINTAIL, and GREEN-WINGED TEAL. Less than 50 Aythya were counted. Over 400 WHITE-WINGED SCOTERS, 30+ SURF SCOTERS, 15 BLACK SCOTERS, and several "dark-winged" scoters were seen. As stated above, it was an impressive LONG-TAILED DUCK day with over 8300 seen. Also counted were COMMON GOLDENEYE (70+), BUFFLEHEAD (30+), and 400+ RED-BREASTED MERGANSERS.
LOONS & GREBES: Less than 20 COMMON LOONS were seen along with 3 RED-THROATED LOONS. It's very obvious that the grebe numbers are slowing down drastically. The north winds helped the grebes a little though, over 130 RED-NECKED GREBES passed by in addition to a couple HORNED GREBES.
SHOREBIRDS: A lone GREATER YELLOWLEGS spent the entire count standing nearly in one place down on the point. It didn't look too pleased with the gale-force winds!
GULLS: A lone first-winter GREAT BLACK-BACKED GULL spent a portion of the count roosting with the gull flock.
During the first hour of the count, a large owl was seen flying well out over the lake. I suspect it was either a Great Gray or Barred Owl but couldn't say for certain.
Some of the other species seen from the waterbird shack included SNOW BUNTING, HORNED LARK, MOURNING DOVE, SAVANNAH SPARROW, and AMERICAN TREE SPARROW.
WEATHER FORECAST FOR TOMORROW: Winds out of the south, sunny, and a high of 52 F.