Saturday, October 31, 2009

October 31, 2009- Bufflehead movement, etc

It was a great Halloween at Whitefish Point as the birds definitely proved to be more of a treat than a trick. Lame jokes aside, strong west winds brought in both quantity and quality of birds. It was about 40 degrees with on and off rain all day.

Waterfowl: The highlight was 601 Bufflehead, a very good movement for this species. Red-breasted Merganser also had their best day so far this fall with 843 seen. Interestingly, most were seen in the late morning and early afternoon once the Bufflehead had tapered down somewhat. Goldeneye had a good day with 77 flying by and scaup/aythya had their best day in quite some time with more than 800 seen. Scoters had a very good day with 157 White-winged, 8 Black, and 2 Surf. Other species seen today were Mallard, Northern Pintail, Redhead, Ring-necked Duck, Long-tailed Duck, Red-throated and Common Loon, and Horned and Red-necked Grebe.

Gulls/Terns: The most interesting bird was a tern that was following a group of Bonaparte's Gulls. Based on a few field marks, this was probably an Arctic Tern but because of distance not all field marks were seen and this bird will never lose the dreaded "probable" tag. Bonaparte's Gulls finally had a good movement today with 85 seen and 3 Great Black-backed and 1 Glaucous Gull hung around the tip all afternoon.

Shorebirds: 1 Sanderling and 1 distant unidentified flyby shorebird were all.

Other: The highlight of the day was a Western Grebe that Jason Bojczyk found at the harbor. The bird stayed just outside the harbor breakwall for more than an hour. There was a steady movement of Juncos and Tree Sparrows off the lake almost all day.

Western Grebe Photo by Jason Bojczyk

Tom Prestby
Waterbird Counter

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