Monday, May 4, 2009

Loons and Piping Plover: Part II

Piping Plover on the point yesterday and today. Photo courtesy of Joe Brooks

Today was mostly about the loons again. They had another good flight, with numbers landing in the middle of the 5/2 and 5/3 counts. The piping plover was still on the point this morning but was no where to be found by the afternoon.

Weather: Beautiful day; sunny, temperatures into the high 50s. It was completely calm at sunrise, with no wind you could hear a pin drop, or in our case the whistling and wing beats of a loon flying directly over head. The wind did eventually pick up some, coming mostly from the SE and E but never topped 5 mph.

Waterbird Count: 198 common loons, 24 red-throated loons. Also 29 RN grebes, 26 greater scaup, 24 scaup sp, 12 sandhill cranes, 12 common mergansers, 8 RB mergansers, 4 LT ducks, 2 surf scoters, 2 northern pintail, 1 DC coromorant, 1 great-blue heron.

Shorebirds: The piping plover again

Other Sightings: A lot of raptors today. We had sharpies, rough leggeds and red tails in the morning. The afternoon brough an impressive kettle, including turkey vulutures, red-tails, and broad wings. There were as many as 8 golden eagles around Whitefish Point today as well. My favorite sighting came after the count, when an osprey swooped over the parking lot with a very large fish in its talons. Quite a sight it was.

I'm supposed to be taking a day off soon but I don't see how I could tomorrow. Forecast is for mostly sunny skies, temperatures in the high 50s and a SE wind 10-20 mph. Looks like a good day for the loons to continue moving, and hopefully other waterfowl as well.

Andy N
Waterbird Counter

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