Monday, September 14, 2009

September 14, 2009- Cackling Goose & Buff-breasted Sandpiper

Waterfowl: The best day of the past week. The highlight was a Cackling Goose that flew by with 9 Canadas. About a hundred Canadas were seen total. By far the best day of the year so far for Common Loon with 163 seen. Red-necked Grebe rebounded from a couple poor days with 331 seen. Other divers included 6 Lesser Scaup, 4 White-winged Scoter, a Surf Scoter, and a couple Red-breasted Mergansers. Dabblers didn't have as good of a day-- highlights were 19 Green-winged and 11 Blue-winged Teal and an American Black Duck.

Shorebirds: A pretty slow day but the presence of a Buff-breasted Sandpiper always makes it a good shorebird day. Pictures are below. Other shorebirds were 4 Golden Plovers, a Semipalmated Plover and 28 Sanderlings.

Other: There were a lot of passerines coming in off the lake in the fog this morning but it was a brutal day for these birds due to a Merlin and a hoard of hungry Herring Gulls. I watched the Merlin kill at least 7 or 8 birds including a Red-eyed Vireo, Magnolia Warbler, Savannah Sparrow, Brown Creeper, and Golden-crowned Kinglet. The Merlin actually killed several birds without eating them, exhibiting caching which I have never seen Merlins or any other species of falcons do. Or, perhaps, the Merlin simply was acting on its predatory instincts and chased any bird it saw flying over, forgetting about the bird it already caught. If anybody else has seen Merlins do this please share a comment. Some pictures of some of it's uneaten victims are below.

Brown Creeper

Golden-crowned Kinglet

Tom Prestby
Waterbird Counter

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