Sunday, May 2, 2010

Another good loon day, with a total of 143 including 12 Red Throated. One was actually on the water for a change, but as soon as i found it in my scope it dived! These things can swim a long way under water, and by the time i relocated it, it was calling before it then flew onward - only the second time i've heard one call, the last one being in Scotland many years ago. The supporting cast included a distant Caspian Tern over the harbour, 1 W W Scoter, 8 LT Duck, 11 D C Cormorant and 7 Killdeer. A stunning Nashville warbler was singing behind the feeders at first light, what a gorgeous bird!
Yesterday was foggy for most of the count and it was impossible to count any birds until it cleared. Loons could be heard calling, but i didn't know if it was one loon calling ten times or ten loons calling once! I stayed at the shack nonetheless, though the calls of songbirds in the nearby pines were like the songs of sirens trying to tempt me away.
After a long while the fog started to clear from over the trees and while checking for loons taking the "short cut" across the point behind the shack I noticed a distant Buteo without a red uppertail. Zooming in revealed a different pattern on the underside of the body and in particular two pale crescents near the ends of the upperwing. A quick look in my new Peterson (thanx Jim!) and i was extremely excited to discover it was a Red Shouldered Hawk! My first ever. I grilled the next folks to arrive and they reported that one had been seen earlier from the hawk watch.
One Wilsons Snipe was flushed from the path through the dunes just before the shack at first light. Interestingly, its' call was noticeably different from that of Common Snipe, with which it was lumped until recently. These days, splits are often based on DNA and vocalisations, and this one certainly sounded more "squelchy"! I'll be listening out for one on my local marshes next fall, though getting a description like that past the local rarities committee could be difficult!

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