Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Loons, Grebes, and a smattering of ducks

This is Ken Behrens filling in for Andy, who probably deserves a day off after some 35 consecutive days 'on'. There was fairly strong movement early which slowed to a trickle in the later hours. 8 Horned Grebes flying together was a fine sight, and my personal highlight. Between raptors, passerines, and waterbirds, I was surrounded by birds all day, and can think of few more pleasant ways to have spent the time. 

Weather: The day started mostly clear and then clouded up. The wind picked up and then dropped to almost nothing by the end of the count. It came mostly from the south. 

Waterbird Count: 1 Mallard, 2 Redhead, 1 Ring-necked Ducks, 3 Greater Scaup, 4 Lesser Scaup, 4 White-winged Scoters, 55 Long-tailed Ducks, 5 Bufflehead, 2 Common Mergansers, 75 Red-breasted Mergansers, 3 Red-throated Loons, 153 Common Loons, 8 Horned Grebes, 17 Red-necked Grebes, 41 Double-crested Cormorants, 7 Great Blue Herons, 25 Sandhill Cranes. 

Shorebirds: One American Golden Plover dashed by in a northwesterly direction, while 15 Killdeer were mostly headed northeast, off the point. 

Other Sightings: There was a great hawk flight, with lots of Rough-legged and Red-tailed Hawks, including a very pale 'Krider's'-type Red-tailed that eventually drifted by after being spotted at the hawk watch. I saw at least one Golden Eagle and several Bald Eagles, most of which I was able to watch crossing Lake Superior. The soft calls of American Pipits came from the sky throughout the day, and I watched hundreds of these birds leave the security of land to venture across the lake. 

The forecast for tomorrow seems un-promising, though one never knows with waterbird migration. 

Ken Behrens

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